Charles R. Drew

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Charles Richard Drew

Charles Richard Drew
Born(1904-06-03)June 3, 1904
Washington, D.C., USA
DiedApril 1, 1950(1950-04-01) (aged 45)
Burlington, North Carolina, USA
NationalityUnited States
FieldsGeneral Surgery
InstitutionsFreedman's Hospital
Morgan State University
Montreal General Hospital
Howard University
Alma materAmherst College, McGill University, Columbia University
Doctoral advisorJohn Beattie
Known forBlood banking; blood transfusions
Notable awardsSpingarn Medal
 
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Charles Richard Drew

Charles Richard Drew
Born(1904-06-03)June 3, 1904
Washington, D.C., USA
DiedApril 1, 1950(1950-04-01) (aged 45)
Burlington, North Carolina, USA
NationalityUnited States
FieldsGeneral Surgery
InstitutionsFreedman's Hospital
Morgan State University
Montreal General Hospital
Howard University
Alma materAmherst College, McGill University, Columbia University
Doctoral advisorJohn Beattie
Known forBlood banking; blood transfusions
Notable awardsSpingarn Medal

Charles Richard Drew (3 June 1904 – 1 April 1950) was an African-American physician, surgeon and medical researcher. He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces.[1] The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed.[2] As the most prominent African-American in the field, Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, an action which cost him his job.[citation needed] In 1943, Drew's distinction in his profession was recognized when he became the first black surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

Contents

Early years

Drew was born in 1904 into an afro-american middle-class family in Washington, D.C.. His father, Richard, was a carpet layer. Drew and his siblings grew up in DC's Foggy Bottom neighborhood[3] and he graduated from Dunbar High School in 1922.[4] Drew's athletic achievements helped win him a scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts and he graduated in 1926.[5] An outstanding athlete at Amherst, Drew also joined Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, receiving his M.D. in 1933 as well as a Master of Surgery degree,[5] and ranked 2nd in his class of 127 students.[5] A few years later, Drew did graduate work at Columbia University, where he earned his Doctor of Medical Science degree, becoming the first African American to do so.[5]

Academic career

Soon after he began his career, owing to his excellence, Drew was selected in 1943 as the first black surgeon to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery. Drew had a lengthy research and teaching career and became a chief surgeon.

Blood Plasma for Great Britain Project

In late 1940, during World War II before the US entered the war, and just after earning his doctorate, Drew was recruited by John Scudder to help set up and administer an early prototype program for blood storage and preservation. He was to collect, test, and transport large quantities of blood plasma for distribution in Great Britain.[6] Drew went to New York to direct the United States' Blood for Britain project. The Blood for Britain project was a project to aid British soldiers and civilians by giving US blood to Great Britain.

Drew created a central location for the blood collection process where donors could go to give blood. He made sure all blood plasma was tested before it was shipped out. He ensured that only skilled personnel handled blood plasma to avoid the possibility of contamination. The Blood for Britain program operated successfully for five months, with total collections of almost 15,000 people donating blood, and with over 5,500 vials of blood plasma.[6] As a result, the Blood Transfusion Betterment Association applauded Drew for his work. Out of his work came the American Red Cross Blood Bank.

Death

Illustration of Drew by Charles Alston in the collection of the National Archives

From 1939, Drew attended the annual free clinic at the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama. For the 1950 Tuskegee clinic, Drew and three other black physicians decided to drive rather than fly. Drew was driving around 8 a.m. on April 1. Still fatigued from spending the night before in the operating theater, Drew lost control of the vehicle. After careening into a field, the car somersaulted three times. The three other physicians suffered minor injuries. Drew was trapped with serious wounds; his foot had become wedged beneath the brake pedal. When reached by emergency technicians, Drew was in shock and barely alive due to severe leg injuries. Drew was taken to Alamance General Hospital in Burlington, North Carolina. He was pronounced dead a half hour after he first received medical attention. Drew's funeral was held on April 5, 1950, at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC.

Rumor

A persistent urban legend (even recounted in an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H and Philip Roth's novel The Human Stain) holds that Drew was denied care — ironically, a blood transfusion — at a nearby hospital because of his race and bled to death. In fact, Drew was well treated by the hospital. Claims that he was not treated because of his skin color are unfounded.[7] As Dr. John Ford, one of the doctors traveling with Drew, later explained, "We all received the very best of care. The doctors started treating us immediately. [...] He had a superior vena caval syndrome—blood was blocked getting back to his heart from his brain and upper extremities. To give him a transfusion would have killed him sooner. Even the most heroic efforts couldn't have saved him. I can truthfully say that no efforts were spared in the treatment of Drew, and, contrary to popular myth, the fact that he was a Negro did not in any way limit the care that was given to him."[8]

Personal life

In 1939 Drew married Minnie Lenore Robbins, a professor of home economics at Spelman College. They had three daughters and a son.[3] His daughter Charlene Drew Jarvis was the president of Southeastern University from 1996 until 2009.[9][10]

Legacy

Numerous schools and health-related facilities, as well as other institutions, have been named in honor of Dr. Drew.

Medical and higher education

K-12 schools

References

  1. ^ "Patent For Preserving Blood Issued November 10, 1942; Washingtonian's invention made Washingtonian's invention madeblood bank possible" (Press release). Brigid Quinn, United States Patent and Trademark Office. 9 November 2001. http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/01-52.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  2. ^ Charles E. Wynes, Charles Richard Drew: The Man and the Myth (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988), p. 58.
  3. ^ a b "The Charles R. Drew Papers". U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2010. http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/BG/p-nid/336. Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  4. ^ Charles B. Dew (April 7, 1995). "Stranger Than Fact". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/07/books/stranger-than-fact.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d Charles Drew page at blackinventor.com. Retrieved 2011-06-26.
  6. ^ a b Starr, Douglas P. (2000). Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce. New York: Quill. ISBN 0-688-17649-6. 
  7. ^ Spencie Love, One Blood: The Death and Resurrection of Charles R. Drew, The University of North Carolina Press (October 29, 1997), p4 ISBN 0-8078-4682-1 Retrieved 2009-06-19
  8. ^ Cecil Adams (10 November 1989). "Did the black doctor who invented blood plasma die because white doctors wouldn't treat him?". The Straight Dope. http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_073.html. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  9. ^ Hallman, L. (2004-06-04). Legacy and Memory of Charles Drew Lives On. The American National Red Cross. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
  10. ^ William F. Zeman (April 28, 2011). "Today in D.C. History: Post Columnist Urges ‘Formidable’ Jarvis to Challenge Barry". Washington City Paper. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2011/04/28/today-in-d-c-history-post-columnist-urges-formidable-jarvis-to-challenge-barry/. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  11. ^ http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=6262
  12. ^ Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, New York. Prometheus Books. ISBN 157392968.
  13. ^ Charles Drew Health Center
  14. ^ About Dr. Charles R. Drew, Charles Drew Charles Drew Science Enrichment Laboratory, Michigan State University
  15. ^ http://www.drewwellnesscenter.com/index.asp
  16. ^ Charles R. Drew Hall, Howard University
  17. ^ Charles R. Drew Elementary School, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
  18. ^ Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School, Broward County Public Schools
  19. ^ Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School, Montgomery County Public Schools

Further reading

External links