CHARLES DREW Biography - Famous Medicine & health care related men and women


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Charles Drew - The Blood Bank                                                           
Charles 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.