Charles Drew (1904-1950) was born on June 3, 1904 in Washington, D.C. Charles Drew excelled in academics and sports during his graduate studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Charles Drew was also a honor student at McGill University Medical School in Montreal, where he specialized in physiological anatomy.
Charles Drew researched blood plasma and transfusions in New York City. It was during his work at Columbia University where he made his discoveries relating to the preservation of blood. By separating the liquid red blood cells from the near solid plasma and freezing the two separately, he found that blood could be preserved and reconstituted at a later date.
Charles Drew’s system for the storing of blood plasma (blood bank) revolutionized the medical profession. Dr. Drew also established the American Red Cross blood bank, of which he was the first director, and he organized the world’s first blood bank drive, nicknamed “Blood for Britain”. His official title for the blood drive was Medical Director of the first Plasma Division for Blood Transfusion, supplying blood plasma to the British during World War II. The British military used his process extensively during World War II, establishing mobile blood banks to aid in the treatment of wounded soldiers at the front lines. In 1941, the American Red Cross decided to set up blood donor stations to collect plasma for the U.S. armed forces.
After the war, Charles Drew took up the Chair of Surgery at Howard University, Washington, D.C. He received the Spingarn Medal in 1944 for his contributions to medical science. Charles Drew died at the early age of 46 from injuries suffered in a car accident in North Carolina.
Dr. Charles Drew
This is the biography of Dr. Charles Drew and his pioneering research into blood plasma preservation and creator of the first blood bank in Britain, told against a history of the black civil rights movement in America.
Charles Drew Biography
Charles Drew was born June 3, 1904, to Richard and Nora Drew, the oldest of five children.