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.