Tag Archives: Karl Landsteiner

Karl Landsteiner and the discovery of blood groups

Safia Benaissa Mostganem, Algeria   Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943), Austrian pathologist, hematologist and serologist; discoverer of the blood groups. Albert Hilscher. circa 1910. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons Karl Landsteiner was the Austrian scientist who recognized that humans had different blood groups and made it possible for physicians to transfuse blood safely. He entered medical school at […]

Ludwik Hirszfeld: the story of one life that changed thousands of others

Paulina Kowalińska Wrocław, Poland   Ludwik Hirszfeld in 1916, during the Serbian war. Source: Wikimedia Commons. “To a far greater extent the group reactions have been used in forensic medicine for the purpose of establishing paternity. The possibility of arriving at decisions in such cases rests on the studies of the hereditary transmission of the […]

A history of blood transfusion: a confluence of science—in peace, in war, and in the laboratory

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts   Figure 1- Blood Transfusions -WWI East Sussex. Photo from Wellcome Images.  Accessed 10/15/2019. The rudimentary lights provided only dim illumination of the operative field. The three British army surgeons worked feverishly to save the life of the young soldier, Corporal Smith, who had a significant liver injury. He had […]

Alternatives to blood transfusion

Geraldine Miller Liverpool, England   Wiliam Harvey demonstrating the circulation of the blood. iStock. In 1616 William Harvey first discovered how blood circulates around the body. This discovery stimulated research into transfusing blood from one person to another. Early attempts to replace blood began with liquids such as milk, both animal and human, urine, and […]

The Rh factor: An intertwined history

Paula Carter Chicago, Illinois   Lucy Reyburn Rittgers and two of her daughters, circa 1948. Source: Family photo In 1924, Lucy Reyburn gave birth to her first child, a daughter she named Darlene. Lucy lived in Iowa and the birth was an embarrassment. She had become pregnant and hurriedly married a man who left before […]