a bloody mess

Blood transfusions are relatively common and problem free these days but it wasn’t always so.

1665: In England, Richard Lower performed the first recorded blood transfusion in animals. With a crude syringe made of goose quill and bladder, created by famed architect Christopher Wren, he connected the jugular vein of a dog he’d bled to the neck artery of second dog, resuscitating the former.

Wren’s proposed map of London found here

1667: In June, French physician Jean-Baptiste Denis transfused a teenage boy suffering from a persistent fever with nine ounces of lamb’s blood. He attached the lamb’s carotid artery to a vein in the boy’s forearm, without the patient suffering any negative consequences.

image found here

Denis used this procedure on several other patients including a healthy 45 year old man described as having “a coarse personality”. It was hoped that transfusing him with sheep blood might make him more malleable and lamblike. His personality did not alter but as soon as the procedure was over, he jumped up and slit the sheep’s throat. He had only agreed to the experiment in exchange for the fleece.

Jason and the Golden Fleece found here

On November 23, before the Royal Society in England, Drs. Richard Lower and Edmund King gave Arthur Coga, an indigent former cleric, a transfusion of several ounces of sheep’s blood for a fee of 20 shillings; the patient recovered nicely.

There seemed to be a lot of lambs available for these experiments. Perhaps that’s because years ago, people believed that lambs grew on trees. You can read more about this fern and its potential to combat osteoporosis here

In the 16th and 17th centuries this unfortunate-looking plant was widely believed to fruit newly-born lambs. According to an ancient legend, the “vegetable lamb” plant sprouted living lambs as if they were flowers.

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33 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. For it’s always the donkey day celebration!

  2. That fern is astonishing.

    • Isn’t it amazing? I’ve not seen anything like it before

  3. Two corpuscles who loved in vein ……. very sad ……..

    • you’ve been spending too much time over at Archie’s, daddyp

  4. I don’t think I would be as sanguine as these patients.

    Btw, “vegetable lamb” makes an awesome stew.

  5. How the heck do you come up with this stuff all the time?

    • I’m a very dedicated researcher Tom

      • And we’re very grateful for it!

  6. so how do you think up WHAT to reasearch? i mean a lamb fern? how does that happen? lol

    • It followed on from researching the use of sheep in medicine

      • lol i didn’t KNOW they used sheep in medicine :)

  7. Woolly bloody bully!

  8. Hmm… using the blood of the lamb – quite the Revelation. ;)

    (That is one hideous looking fern – but with potential. And, of course, that potential is years away from being marketable. Sigh.)

  9. So… the blood of a wee lamb cures the rough personality of a man huh? Landlord… a pint please, and keep em coming!

  10. Fascinating stuff. It’s amazing that blood transfusions were attempted so early. It is amusing with hingsight with the blood of a meek creature like a lamb… But then again what modern procedures will be thought risible or downright barbaric in several centuries

  11. What they don’t tell you is how many died b/c they got the wrong blood type from the sheep..haha

    • Surprisingly few considering no animal type is compatible with humans

  12. Interesting thing, that fern…

  13. “Baaa” means “No”. Always….

  14. Are you and Stephen King friends? :) I once saw this hilarious horror film set in New Zealand where lambs/sheep were killing people and eating them out in the field. Disturbing but done in such a way that laughter was inevitable.

    • The film “Black Sheep” was most amusing!

  15. If I ate that would I die?

  16. Well that was refreshing :-)

  17. You know, I actually don’t mind the “sheep blood infusion to fix personality disorder approach”. Now we know that won’t work, but hey, at least we gave it a shot, you know, as a species.

  18. i want some lambs blood!
    i want to be lamblike too.
    baaahhhhh.

  19. You’ve got me thinking about trying a witch’s concoction of blood now! I wonder if I used the blood of a lion, a monkey, an eagle, and a dolphin if I’d develop super-human abilities? I want to try!

  20. FYI, lamb’s carotid artery is a delicacy where I am right now.

    Lately, whenver I read one of your posts I’m reminded that it’s time for lunch…

  21. I think lambs shoud be fruited only by othr lambs.

  22. I don’t know why but this post caused me a lot of physical pain!

  23. I am cowed and sheepish at your fantastic research results. I won’t boar you hoarsely with any infernal transfusions tales, though. I muse merely that spit-roasting that leafy lamb there may cause visions of the burning bush – just in time for Passover!

  24. Baaaaaaaaaa!


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