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October 26, 1929


JAMA. 1929;93(17):1310-1312. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.02710170042012

The history of blood transfusion began with the transfer of the whole blood of some of the lower animals to man, with the aim of conferring on the latter the magic properties of life and of healing which the blood was supposed to possess. Whenever this procedure was not distinctly harmful, as the result, as is now known, of the introduction of foreign protein, it was probably not often beneficial. Perhaps in rare instances some immune substances may have been unknowingly introduced. Later, transfusion became limited to the transfer of blood from one human being to another, under the belief that the blood of the homologous species could not be harmful. Reactions even more severe than those following the use of heterologous blood occurred. These untoward effects received their explanation from the discovery, by Landsteiner in 1901, that the bloods of different human beings may be incompatible through the fact