Richard Lewisohn and Science 1916

Over the past century, there have been many scientific discoveries that have continued to impact our lives even a hundred years later. Scientific research has given individuals the opportunity to understand and benefit from the world around us. From vaccines to organ and blood transfusions, this research has improved the way of life for the world, and has saved many lives. One of the biggest pioneers of scientific research is Richard Lewisohn, who significantly aided in the advancement of blood transfusions.

Blood transfusions have impacted the lives of many people, and have even saved many lives. Before Lewisohn, there was no successful way to preserve blood, meaning that the only way to do a transfusion was to have a live donor. The German-born American surgeon and scientist developed procedures that would make blood transfusions safe and effective. Lewisohn’s work led to the storage of blood in blood banks, and he is responsible for saving over one billion lives.

Lewisohn’s research is important because without his discoveries, blood transfusions would not be able to happen.

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When someone gets cut, the blood starts to clot, which allows the blood to stop flowing for a long period of time. This is so the person does not bleed out. Blood clots were a big problem in blood transfusions. After a couple of minutes into any transfusion, blood would begin to cluster together as it passed in a tube from donor to recipient. In the early 20th-Century, letting blood sit in a container was completely out of the question.

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There were many scientists working on this problem. Belgian physician Albert Hustin, and Argentinian doctor Luis Agote both discovered the anticoagulant properties of sodium citrate in 1914. Anticoagulant refers to eliminating or reducing the risk of blood clots, meaning that sodium citrate had properties that could stop the blood from clotting all together. They made a good discovery, but it was proven that the compound was very toxic. Lewisohn was determined to use the sodium citrate theory. After many thorough experiments, he discovered the concentration at which sodium citrate could keep blood liquid without poisoning the recipient. In 1916, just before World War 1, researchers discovered that sodium citrate allowed blood to be stored outside of the body for two weeks! This helped to save thousands of lives during the World War.

Blood transfusions were transformed from a traumatic process that had bad consequences, to the routine procedure that is used today. Without this discovery, many lives would have been lost, and we would not have the scientific advancements that we have today. This breakthrough has impacted our lives due to the fact that it is critical in saving someone’s life. Cancer, transplant, and trauma patients need platelet transfusions, and anemic patients need blood transfusions to increase the amount of iron in their blood. If there was an emergent case of a car accident, a patient may need up to fifty pints of red blood cells in order to survive. No matter the type of transfusion, all are very critical in saving someone’s life.

Blood transfusions have greatly impacted the lives of humans. There are many different needs for blood transfusions, and imagine how many happen daily all around the world. Billions of lives have been saved, due to the scientific advancements towards improved blood clot technology made by Richard Lewisohn.

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Richard Lewisohn and Science 1916. (2022, Apr 07). Retrieved from

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