Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: blood transfusion

  • The curious history of autologous blood transfusions: Syringes and cheesecloths

    Denis ChenNewcastle-under-Lyme, United Kingdom  Autologous blood transfusion, the infusion of a patient’s own blood, is a relatively recent procedure. It was preceded historically by the classical descriptions of the blood by Hippocrates1 and Galen2; by the discovery of the circulation of blood by William Harvey and the description of the red blood cells by microscopist…

  • William P. Murphy Jr., MD: Physician-inventor

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “…An unqualified success.”– Dr. Murphy on the testing of blood bags during the Korean War It is perhaps no coincidence that the son of the physician who revolutionized the treatment of pernicious anemia should likewise have been an inventor. By the time he died in 2023 at the age of 100, Dr.…

  • Xenotransfusion: blood from animals to humans

    The idea of infusing the blood of animals into humans was first proposed in 1658 by the French monk Dom Robert des Gabets soon after William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood. Experiments consisting of transfusing blood from one species to another followed. In 1665 in Oxford Richard Lower transfused blood from one…

  • Hemodialysis treatment for schizophrenia?

    Nicolas Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Jean-Baptiste Denys (1643–1704). Via Wikimedia Public Domain. “You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did, and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.” Mary W. Shelley, Frankenstein (The Modern Prometheus)  …

  • Drawing blood: Depictions of transfusion in contemporary arts

    Diana-Andreea Novaceanu Bucharest, Romania   The history of blood transfusion has unfolded in stages, first from experiments on animals, then from animal to human, and finally to transfusion between humans. The subject, in all its intricacy, has been captured by medical illustrators and painters throughout the centuries. Over the course of the last decades, attitudes…

  • Blood’s journey: From lab technology to industrial technology

    Cristina Sans-PonsetiBarcelona, Spain Nowadays, it is usual to see donation centers storing blood worldwide. Blood banks meet the demand for blood in order to perform transfusions and produce plasma-based products.1 The use of blood in industrial processes resulted from historical and social contingencies. Our knowledge of the human body, including blood, has changed substantially, along…

  • Blood debt

    Jules ReichChicago, Illinois, United States In 1937, the first U.S. blood bank opened in Chicago. It was originally called a Blood Preservation Laboratory, but its founder, Dr. Bernard Fantus, changed the name to blood bank. For someone who spent a large part of his exceptional career working on ways to make medicine taste better for…

  • Anne McLaren, transfusion, transplantation, and the nature of blood

    Matthew HolmesCambridge, UK Anne McLaren, Oxford-trained zoologist and first female Officer of the Royal Society, once claimed that “History may be circular, but the history of science is helical: it repeats itself, but each time at a deeper level.”1 To see the helical nature of the history of science in action, we need look no…

  • The past and future of blood banking

    Eva Kitri Mutch StoddartSaigon, Vietnam Blood oozes allure. The elixir of life, viscous and dramatic scarlet, courses through the veins of every living human. Blood has been viewed as sacred for centuries. Aristocrats used to sip at it to stoke their youth and vitality. Bram Stoker’s quintessential vampire novel, the revered Dracula, was published in…

  • The sanctity of blood: Jehovah’s Witnesses and bloodless medicine

    Margo A. PeytonBaltimore, Maryland, United States Tammy said that her throat looked like that of a bullfrog croaking on an August night. At her local emergency room, her blood pressure was 240/40 mmHg due to profound aortic valve insufficiency complicated by an aortic aneurysm. Her condition necessitated high-risk cardiac surgery, a procedure that carries the…