Doctor in the house
Charles Richard Drew was an African-American physician, surgeon and medical researcher. He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of livesin the Allied forces.
Actually,?Drew’s decision to become a doctor was influenced by his sister’s death from tuberculosis. Dr Drew’s sister Elsie, who was ailing with tuberculosis, died of pandemic influenza in 1920. Her death influenced his decision to study medicine.
The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed. Drew protested the practice of racial segregation in blood donation as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job. In 1943, Drew’s distinction in his profession was recognized when he became the first black surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.
In late 1940 during World War II before the United States entered the war and just after earning his doctorate, Drew was recruited by John Scudder to help set up and administer an early prototype programme for blood storage and preservation. He was to collect, test, and transport large quantities of blood plasma for distribution in Great Britain. Drew went to New York to direct the United States’ Blood for Britain project to aid British soldiers and civilians by giving American blood to Great Britain.
Drew created a central location for the blood collection process where donors could go to give blood. He made sure all blood plasma was tested before it was shipped out. He ensured that only skilled personnel handled blood plasma to avoid the possibility of contamination. The programme operated successfully for five months, with almost 15 000 people donating blood and over 5 500 vials of blood plasma collected. As a result, the Blood Transfusion Betterment Association applauded Drew for his work. Out of his work came the American Red CrossBlood Bank.