As we all know, blood is the vital and essential component that keeps us alive. The role that it has in our organism is far but simple, it provides us with the indispensable nutrients and oxygen and has many other crucial functions that are key to our existence. I believe that all of you are familiar with the term blood transfusion but have you ever wondered how it all began? What are the origins of this astonishing act of saving the lives of those needing it?
The awareness of blood importance and the fact that if lost it can have fatal consequences dates from ancient times. Since then people were trying to figure out a successful way to transfuse blood in order to save one’s life. The two scientific breakthroughs that made blood transfusion conceivable as a medical treatment were William Harvey’s discovery about blood circulation in 1628 and Christopher Wren’s invention of syringe for injecting blood intravenously around 1659. This discoveries had quite the impact and persuaded many scientists to carry out experiments in order to manage to succeed in this inscrutable task.
The first successful transfusion was done by an English physician, Richard Lower who transfused blood from one dog to another. Some of the scientists went even further and tried transfusing blood from one person to another. Some of the patients did survive, being fit as a fiddle, but some of them weren’t meant for such a destiny. Therefore blood transfusion was banned from further execution. This left people wondering what’s the reason behind those unsuccessful attempts. This question was finally answered when Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian scientist, discovered three human blood groups: A, B, O, and his students who discovered the fourth AB blood group. Since then the death rate has significantly decreased, people were getting back on their feet and once again it was allowed as treatment for those needing it.
This revelation has helped many wretched people fight their destiny and extend their lives as much as possible. Thankfully, the hard work of our ancestors really did pay off saving many people lives, giving them a second chance to live their lives to the fullest!