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November 19, 1932


JAMA. 1932;99(21):1783-1784. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02740730047016

Though the observation was made 150 years ago, it is perhaps not generally realized that blood clots much more rapidly than usual after a severe sudden hemorrhage. Cohnheim noted, in fact, that during the course of extensive bloodletting in animals the last sample of blood coagulated almost instantaneously. This phenomenon has been investigated rather extensively and rests on well confirmed observations.1 The purposeful result of such a mechanism is apparent; it illustrates anew the existence of natural forces to counteract the effects of injury and disease. The ancient practice of bloodletting in cases of hemorrhage, paradoxical as it may seem, has perhaps a sufficient basis to account for its long continued use. The ability of the body to recover from extensive blood losses is great; the stopping of the leak by a clot, promoted by additional loss of blood, may in some cases be more important than replacing the