Bank on it

Bernard Fantus, the Hungarian-born physician who was the director of "therapeutics" at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Ill., established the first "blood bank" in 1937.

Until then, a donor had to be on-site at the time of a blood transfusion.

Bernard Fantus

Bernard Fantus

Dr. Fantus also coined the term "blood bank," in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that year that set out the hospital's methodology in clear, understandable terms.

Other institutions swiftly developed their own blood-storage facilities, and helped themselves to Fantus's catchy term as well.

Cook County's blood-storage innovation came at a critical time, just a few years before the start of World War II, when blood donated by people thousands of miles from the battlefronts would make the difference between life and death for a great many injured Allied soldiers.

One thought on “Bank on it

  1. How interesting that I stumbled across your blog from SITS… I also have quite a traumatic birth story (a vasa previa, meaning my daughter’s umbilical cord burst). Talk about technology– three days on head cooling saved her life (and brain). Today she’s almost perfectly normal with just horrible reflux and feeding issues to contend with. As your experience drove you to help others by exploring science and medicine, mine drove me to explore ways to help others who are in the NICU (

    Fascinating blog… I wish you luck with your book!

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