November 14 – The First Recorded Blood Transfusion

While Samuel Peyps is sometimes credited with witnessing and recording the first blood transfusion, this title is wrong on several fronts.  First of all, this experiment was not the first time a blood transfusion had been tried.  Secondly, Peyps did not actually witness the transfusion.  However, he was the first person to record a blood transfusion happening.  This is not the first time that Samuel Peyps found his way history for his invaluable writings.  Living during the time of the Great Plague in London and the Great Fire of London, he was able to record in his personal diary many useful facts about life in the 1600s.  On November 14, 1666, he recorded for all history a short summery of a blood transfusion.  The transfusion was performed on two dogs and resulted in the death of the donor dog.  Since the practice was still relatively new, the general format was that the donor dog was bled until it died, while the recipient dog was drained of his own blood and given the new blood at the same time.  Ironically, the talk of the blood experiment took place over supper, according to Peyps.  While others were skeptical of this experiment ever working, Peyps did believe that eventually the practice would be perfected in such a way that the transfusion could work for human patients as well.  However, this procedure took several centuries to be safe for humans.  Today, transfusions are done on a regular basis, though, thankfully, they do not involve the death of the donor!



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