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Wrapping up Black History Month with Dr. Charles Drew

by Hocking College Contributing Writer on February 26, 2020

Blood transfusions save 4.5 million people every year. When people have surgery or are in accidents, they lose blood, and it needs to be replaced; that's where blood transfusions save lives.

Charles Drew 2Dr. Charles R. Drew, an African American surgeon and medical researcher, grew up in Washington D.C. and was fortunate enough, even with a racial disadvantage, to go to an excellent public school. Drew later attended Amherst University on an athletic scholarship. While attending Amherst, his oldest sister died of tuberculosis, and he was hospitalized for an athletic injury. At this moment, he started to direct his focus toward medicine.

His journey through medical school was hard, considering the fact that only a handful of African Americans received this opportunity. He was accepted to Harvard but decided to attend medical school in Montreal, Canada. After medical school Drew served on the faculty of the Howard University College of Medicine. It was around this time that he started to dabble with blood transfusion while working on his doctoral thesis, "Banked Blood."

Charles Drew StampIn 1940, Drew created the first large-scale blood bank in the United States with the Red Cross. One of his most significant accomplishments was "perfecting" blood transfusions. Being so, he was called upon by the British during World War II because their blood and plasma supplies were "tainted." He was appointed supervisor of the blood transfusion association for New York City and supervised the "Blood for Britain" program. This program was responsible for successfully supplying Britain with healthy and properly stored blood and plasma.

As medicine developed, Drew disagreed with the method of separating blood by race, and it was then he decided to leave New York and the Red Cross.
Drew went back to Howard, but he spent the rest of his life trying to improve the field of Medicine for African American physicians.

In 1950, he died from injuries caused by a car accident in Charleston, North Carolina. Because of his accomplishments, millions of lives have been changed as well as the medical field.

Interested in a Medical Career?

Hocking College offers a dozen majors and certificates with our Allied Health programs. We offer programs in nursing, medical assisting, dental hygiene, laboratory sciences, massage therapy and more

About the Author

This blog was written by Donovan Demus, a student intern in the Marketing Office at Hocking College. Donovan is in the Business Management & Entrepreneurship program and hopes to work at an advertising firm in Columbus following graduation.

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