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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Blood Banks

An early development leading to the establishment of blood banks occurred in 1914 when the Austrian biologist Karl Landsteiner and Richard Lewisohn of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York discovered that sodium citrate prevents clotting. The development of the possibility of the refrigerated storage of blood opened the way for the first blood banks to be established in Britain during the First World War. It was not widely used and had only twenty-six requests for blood from hospitals. By the 1930s, Stalin had established over sixty large blood centers and many more smaller ones, which covered the whole of the vast Soviet Union.

In the USA the first large-scale blood bank was not created until 1937, when Bernard Fantus the director of therapeutics at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, created a hospital laboratory that preserved and stored donor blood. Fantus described it as a "blood bank”, the first time the term had been used. By the time of the Second World War a few years later blood banks and blood transfusions were being widely used.

Jim Becker had faithfully followed the Green Bay Packers since shortly after he returned from the Korean War in 1952. He routinely sold his blood to buy season tickets, which inadvertently saved his life when he was found in 1975 to have Hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder that leads to toxic iron deposition in the body, and an early death. The only treatment is bloodletting. 

Prince Charles became the first member of the Royal Family to become a blood donor on March 1, 1985. Nurses confirmed his blood was red, not blue.

Greyhounds are universal blood donors, and with few exceptions, blood from any greyhound can be given to any other breed of dog.

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