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February 21, 1914

Blood Transfusion in 1492?

JAMA. 1914;LXII(8):633. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560330051028

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To the Editor:  —Under this title Dr. J. L. Joughin (The Journal, Feb. 14, 1914, p. 554) quotes from Villari's "Life of Savonarola" a passage purporting to give an "accurate record" of the first transfusion. The following passage from A. H. Mathew's "Life and Times of Rodrigo Borgia" (1912, Brentano's, p. 66) throws a somewhat different light on the same incidents:"On the evening of July 25, 1492, the good-natured and incompetent Pope Innocent VIII passed away. It is related that, during his last illness, the operation for transfusion of blood was unsuccessfully performed. This, however, is an error arising from the forgetfulness of two important facts: (1) that the idea of this operation could not occur to any one to whom the circulation of the blood was unknown; (2) that the phenomenon of the circulation of the blood was not discovered until the seventeenth century. Raynaldus and Infessura say

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