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Reply #132: Dr. Charles Drew--the facts [View All]

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Brewman_Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-17-08 11:11 AM
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132. Dr. Charles Drew--the facts
Dr. Charles Richard Drew, MD, was the first person to develop the blood bank. His introduction of a system for the storing of blood plasma revolutionized the medical profession. Drew first utilized his system on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific during World War II. He organized the world's first blood bank project in 1940 - Blood for Britain. He also established the American Red Cross Blood Bank, of which he was the first director.

Drew was born in Washington, D.C. June 3, 1904 to Richard and Nora Drew, and was the oldest of five children. In his youth he seemed headed for a career in athletics and the coaching field rather than for medicine, starring as a four letter man in Dunbar High School, Washington. He went on to study at Amherst College, where he was a star athlete, all-American half-back and captain of his Amherst College football team.

After graduation, Charles Drew was a coach and a biology and chemistry instructor at Morgan State College, Baltimore, Maryland. But a turning point in his life was at hand. It had become his ambition to enter the field of medicine. He resigned his job at Morgan State and went to Montreal, Canada, where he enrolled in McGill University's Medical School. There he was granted two fellowships and was awarded his doctorate of medicine and master of surgery degrees.

Drew was named the Supervisor of the Blood Transfusion Association for New York City and oversaw its efforts towards providing plasma to the British Blood Bank. He was later named a project director for the American Red Cross but soon resigned his post after the United States War Department issued a directive that blood taken from White donors should be segregated from that of Black donors.

In 1942, Drew returned to Howard University to head its Department of Surgery, as well as the Chief of Surgery at Freedmen's Hospital. Later he was named Chief of Staff and Medical Director for the Hospital.

Dr. Drew's professional awards were many. In 1948 he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for his work on blood plasma. He was also presented with the E. S. Jones Award for Research in Medical Science and became the first Black to be appointed an examiner by the American Board of Surgery. In 1945 he was presented honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from Virginia State College as well as Amherst College where he attended as an undergraduate student. In 1946 he was elected Fellow of the International College of Surgeons and in 1949 appointed Surgical Consultant for the United States Army's European Theater of Operations.

Charles Drew died on April 1, 1950 when the automobile he was driving went out of control and turned over. Drew suffered extensive and massive injuries but contrary to popular legend was not denied a blood transfusion by an all-White hospital - he indeed received a transfusion but was beyond the help of the experienced physicians attending to him. His family later wrote letters to those physicians thanking them for the care they provided. Over the years, Drew has been considered one of the most honored and respected figures in the medical field and his development of the blood plasma bank has given a second chance of live to millions.




http://www.blackinventor.com/pages/charlesdrew.html
http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/drew.htm
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