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William Harvey, leading physician of his day, is the first to demonstrate that blood circulates round the body.   


Sir Christopher Wren takes time out from designing cathedrals to inject some fluids into the circulation of animals, using equipment developed by William Harvey. 


In the same year that London burns, Richard Lower performs the first successful transfusion, albeit on an animal.


Samuel Pepys scribbles in his notes that experiments have been taking place at the Royal Society, transfusing blood from one dog to another.


While poets like Keats, Shelley and Byron are all wandering around being romantic, Dr James Blundell is being altogether more practical and conducts transfusions in cases of haemorrhages after childbirth.


Dr Karl Landsteiner, a leading doctor in Vienna, discovers that blood comes in 4 main groups - A, B, AB and O - and suddenly everybody realises why they've been going wrong for the last 272 years.


Two major advances take place out of need to relieve the pressure caused by trying to save lives during the Great War. The first is the discovery that blood could be prevented from clotting once it's removed from the body by mixing it with sodium citrate. And like most things, they also discover that blood can last a bit longer if it's put in a fridge.


The British Red Cross members all decide to give blood at Kings College Hospital, London, and so the first voluntary blood service is born.


The Americans open the world's first blood bank at Cook County Hospital, Chicago.


And we in Britain open our first blood bank in Ipswich.


After the outbreak of war, things really kick off with four large civilian centres being set up near London and at an Army centre near Bristol.


While the war rages, obviously there is a greater need for blood so the emergency medical services and the Army set up eight regional transfusion centres. And thousands of civilians do their bit for the country by donating, saving the lives of many servicemen and civilians.


The National Blood Service is launched (under the name Blood Transfusion Service).


The National Health Service is set up in England and North Wales (yes, the National Blood Service came first). But right from the start, a strong partnership is established between the two.


While everyone is busy wearing flares and having bad hair, the National Blood Service quietly gets on with replacing glass bottles with plastic blood bags, and therefore allowing a much wider use of blood components.


HIV testing is introduced.


And just as importantly, testing for hepatitis C is introduced.


The National Blood Service celebrates 50 years of saving lives with a cup of tea and a biscuit.


And the National Health Service celebrates their 50th. The links between the two bodies are as strong as they always were.

What is Thalassaemia? Why and What to donate?
Remedies Who can donate blood?
Tests for Thalassaemia Who cannot donate blood?
Blood Types and Compatibility History of Blood Transfusion
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