15.06.

1667: The First Human Blood Transfusion

1667: The First Human Blood Transfusion
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ "Early blood transfusion from lamb to man" by http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/2a/59/82a897bb24825c66f37e955cd5f0.jpgGallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0000096.html. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 15 June 1667
  • French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys on this day transfused sheep blood into a 15-year old boy. Apparently, the procedure was successful, and the young man recovered from his illness.

On this day in 1667, the first thoroughly documented blood transfusion was performed. 

It was administered by the French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys, the famed physician of King Louis XIV (the Sun King).

The transfusion which Denys performed was not from human to human, but from animal to human. Such transfusions are called xenotransfusions and they preceded human to human transfusions.

Denys transfused sheep blood into a 15-year old boy. Apparently, the procedure was successful, and the young man recovered from his illness.

It was probably due to the small amount of blood that was actually transfused that there was no major allergic reaction.

However, some further attempts resulted in deaths, so in 1670 blood transfusion from animals to humans were banned.

Interestingly, the discovery of blood groups happened at the beginning of the 20th century, about 230 years after Denys.

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