Central Blood Bank

February is Black History Month

Black-History-charles_web1

During Black History Month, Central Blood Bank honor Dr. Charles Richard Drew, the African American doctor who changed the face of transfusion medicine, specifically the processes of blood collection, storage and transfusion.  Drew not only pioneered large-scale blood banks during World War II but also envisioned blood drives and the use of refrigerated “bloodmobiles.”

 

Drew pioneered many processes that continue today, such as creating a centralized location for blood collection, ensuring that only skilled personnel handled blood and testing plasma before it was shipped.

 

As a Columbia University-Presbyterian Hospital resident in New York, Dr. Drew  later discovered that by separating the red blood cells from the plasma – and freezing the two separately – that blood could be preserved and reconstituted at a later date.  This discovery, along with Drew’s hypothesis that a plasma transfusion could be given to anyone regardless of blood type, revolutionized the industry.

 

Drew was recognized in 1944 by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) with the Spingarn Medal for his contributions to medical science.

 

In addition to highlighting the achievements Dr. Charles Drew brought to transfusion medicine, Central Blood Bank is highlighting the importance and need for African American blood donors.

 

Along with several other ethnic groups African Americans have a higher incidence diseases which require blood transfusion, the most well-known being sickle cell disease.  “Sickled”  cells — cells that are sickle-shaped and not disk-shaped — can result in pain, organ damage and infections.  Patients with sickle cell often require frequent transfusions, and the transfusions themselves can cause many complications.

 

But when blood is phenotypically matched (i.e. is a close blood type match), patients are at a lower risk of developing complications from transfusion therapy.  For this reason, it is extremely important to increase the number of available blood donors from all ethnic groups.

 

Schedule your next donation appointment now or contact us to find out more about creating awareness of the need for blood donations in your community.