Van oorlog naar prioriteitsstrijd

Bloedtransfusie als medische innovatie tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog
Historisch perspectief
08-11-2017
Ton van Helvoort

From war to priority battle; blood transfusion as a medical innovation during World War I

The logistics system for blood transfusion was first developed on the Western Front during World War I. This article focuses on the people who played a major role in this development. It discusses the people who came up with the idea of preventing coagulation through addition of citrate and who discovered the stabilisation of blood by adding glucose. The inclusion of citrate can be regarded as having been simultaneously developed in several countries, while the stabilisation of erythrocytes was discovered by American researchers. As regards to the credit for being the first person to apply blood transfusion as a logistics system, this priority development was contested by an American and a Canadian, who coincidentally had the same surname – Robertson. The war induced both of them to start large-scale implementation of their discovery of blood transfusion. The Germans, however, generally continued with the traditional treatment for blood loss and shock by administering saline and gum arabic.

Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.