Friday, October 20, 2006

Great African Americans

Charles R. Drew was a teacher, physician and medical researcher. In the latter role, his accomplishments were nothing short of brilliant. Awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship in surgery in 1938 at Columbia University, Drew wrote a doctoral thesis entitled, "Banked Blood." In his research he discovered that by separating plasma (the liquid part of blood) from the whole blood (where the red blood cells exist) and then refrigerating them separately, blood lasted longer and was less likely to become contaminated. Drew also demonstrated that everyone has the same type of plasma; thus, in those instances where a whole blood transfusion is unnecessary, a plasma transfusion could be administered, regardless of blood type. He helped establish a blood bank at Columbia University and became the first African American to receive a Doctor of Medical Science degree from that university.
Controversy around his death:
A rumor spread in the deep south that the "Blood Doctor" died because he was refused a blood transfusion in actuality he died from the severity of his wounds suffered in a fatal car accidents April 1, 1950