Drew - The Blood Bank
Drew (1904-1950) was born on June 3, 1904 in Washington, D.C. Charles Drew
excelled in academics and sports during his graduate studies at Amherst
College in Massachusetts. Charles Drew was also a honor student at McGill
University Medical School in Montreal, where he specialized in physiological
Charles Drew researched blood plasma
and transfusions in New York City. It was during his work at Columbia University
where he made his discoveries relating to the preservation of blood. By
separating the liquid red blood cells from the near solid plasma and freezing
the two separately, he found that blood could be preserved and reconstituted
at a later date.
Charles Drew's system for the storing
of blood plasma (blood bank) revolutionized the medical profession. Dr.
Drew also established the American Red Cross blood bank, of which he was
the first director, and he organized the world's first blood bank drive,
nicknamed "Blood for Britain". His official title for the blood drive was
Medical Director of the first Plasma Division for Blood Transfusion, supplying
blood plasma to the British during World War II. The British military used
his process extensively during World War II, establishing mobile blood
banks to aid in the treatment of wounded soldiers at the front lines. In
1941, the American Red Cross decided to set up blood donor stations to
collect plasma for the U.S. armed forces.
After the war, Charles Drew took
up the Chair of Surgery at Howard University, Washington, D.C. He received
the Spingarn Medal in 1944 for his contributions to medical science. Charles
Drew died at the early age of 46 from injuries suffered in a car accident
in North Carolina.
This is the biography of Dr. Charles
Drew and his pioneering research into blood plasma preservation and creator
of the first blood bank in Britain, told against a history of the black
civil rights movement in America.
Charles Drew was born June 3, 1904,
to Richard and Nora Drew, the oldest of five children.
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