Artificial Blood

At least for now, artificial blood remains a holy grail of trauma medicine - Marion Renault

Artificial Blood

image by: Sickle Cell Foundation of Minnesota

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Searching in vein: a history of artificial blood

In 1873, Dr. Joseph Howe of New York City injected 1.5 ounces of goat’s milk into a tuberculosis patient’s vein.

Vertigo, chest pain, and uncontrollable eye movement soon racked Howe’s milk-infused patient. Naturally, the physician doubled the dose. “I am of the opinion it had no effect,” Howe noted in an 1875 account of the procedure. The patient promptly died.

Surprisingly, Howe was not the first to conduct milk transfusions—years earlier, in the midst of a cholera epidemic, two doctors brought a cow to a Toronto hospital and pumped the animal’s milk into their own patients. Howe, though, was a far more persistent advocate of the procedure.

Despite his first…

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Last Updated : Monday, September 23, 2019