Risk vs Reward

It was a perfect day in Massachusetts– for skydiving! Today I  jumped out, as they say, of a “perfectly good airplane” at 14,000 feet. On the way up, one of my friends couldn’t buckle up in the car as one of the seat belts was broken. This got me thinking about risk, our perception of risk, and reward. Most people would never go skydiving. They consider it dangerous, although your chances of dying in a car crash (from not wearing your seat belt) are much higher. Most people are shocked that I love to skydive, and not only that, that I encourage others as well.

For me, the rewards outweighed any perceived risk. Our perception of risk often determines our decisions. And things seem riskier 1) if we are not familiar personally with it–most people don’t ever skydive, 2) if it is sensational– and one skydive death makes the news, even while several car accidents will be overlooked, 3) if there is feeling of lack of control. We often “feel” more in control of our cars, and feel less likely to die in them.

This is my fourth jump.

There are about 3 million jumps in a typical year in the US, and about 30 deaths. This is about one person per 100,000 jumps. One website says “You would have to jump 17 times per year for your risk of dying in a skydiving accident to equal your risk of dying in a car accident if you drive 10,000 miles per year.” So odds are good you’ll be fine!

So what’s all this got to do with hemophilia? Some people are still very insecure about infusing factor concentrate. We are writing up a big article for the August issue of PEN about recombinant and plasma-derived factor concentrates. There are risks with any medication, and of course we had sensational deaths with hemophilia many years ago. This has made many fearful of products. But all US products are considered safe by the US FDA. These are among the most scrutinized drugs on earth, and we run a higher health risk eating at a fast food restaurant than infusing factor.

Sometimes it all has to do with perception. My perception of skydiving? The rewards far outweigh the risks. I feel the same about factor concentrate, too. Read the August issue of PEN to learn more about safety of our products, and if you ever want to shake up your world, get on the edge, have an adventure, try skydiving!

“Life is a daring adventure, or is is nothing at all.” Helen Keller

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