I think I’ll save a life today. A stranger’s life. Here’s how. Influenza is coming to town. I have a one-in-five chance of catching it. And the odds are that I will share it with at least three of my friends and co-workers. Likely, one will have had a shot and be immune, and two will get ill from my gift. Each of those ill will share it with three, and another two will get the illness.
Then every 2 to 3 days, the count doubles again. And again. In 14 generations, about 6 weeks, that number is well over 10,000 victims from my illness. Each one handed my germ (the virus that my cells aided and abetted) down a long line of infection. The odds are that 100 of those folks will be hospitalized, and one will die. I will never meet the family of that one who dies, and I wouldn’t know what to say. I don’t know just how to bear my share of that burden of responsibility.
So I think I will get out of this line and go get in line for a flu shot.
Bill Cosgrove, M.D.
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