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June 30, 1962


JAMA. 1962;180(13):1123-1124. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050260045010

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Time is required to determine the limitations of even the most brilliant discoveries in medicine. Blood transfusion is no exception. The enthusiastic announcement in 1665 of Richard Lower's demonstration of homologous blood transfusion in dogs contains his own appraisal of its significance: "At least it is a comfort to our Nation and credit to our fame that Harvey became pre-eminent by first demonstrating that blood circulated inside the body. That this circulation could be extended outside the body was first discovered by me." Dr. Samuel Pepys perceived the value of Lower's demonstration in a somewhat different light: "This did give occasion to many pretty wishes, as the blood of a Quaker to be let into an Archbishop, and such like." Lower's discovery, however, ended in near disaster some 2 years later when the Parisian physician, Denys, encountered a death following transfusion of lamb's blood to one of his patients. Charges

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