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Dr. Charles Richard Drew ,pioneer in blood plasma research, died in a car accident in Burlington, NC,on April 1,1950.

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Dr. Charles Richard Drew was the first person to develop the blood bank. His introduction of a system for the storing of blood plasma revolutionized the medical profession. Drew first utilized his system on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific during World War II. He organized the world’s first blood bank project  in 1940 – Blood for Britain. He also established the American Red Cross Blood Bank, of which he was the first director.

Drew was born in Washington, D.C. June 3, 1904 to Richard and Nora Drew, and was the oldest of five children. In his youth he seemed headed for a career in athletics and the coaching field rather than for medicine, starring as a four letter man in Dunbar High School, Washington. He went on to study at Amherst College, where he was a star athlete, all-American half-back and captain of his Amherst College football team.

After graduation, Charles Drew was a coach and a biology and chemistry instructor at Morgan State College, Baltimore, Maryland. But a turning point in his life was at hand. It had become his ambition to enter the field of medicine. He resigned his job at Morgan State and went to Montreal, Canada, where he enrolled in McGill University’s Medical School. There he was granted two fellowships and was awarded his doctorate of medicine and master of surgery degrees.

Milestones:

1904 Charles Drew born on June 3, in Washington D.C.

1939 Drew married Minnie Lenore Robbins, and they had four children

1940 Completes his doctoral thesis, titled “Banked Blood: A Study in Blood Preservation”.

1940 Drew was appointed medical supervisor of the “Plasma for Britain” project.

1941 Drew was named director of the newly formed Red Cross Blood Bank .

1950 Drew died on April 1, in an auto accident while traveling to a medical convention

 

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