Calendar of Cool: First Blood Bank Opens

On March 15, 1937, the first blood bank was formed in Chicago at the Cook County Hospital. The goal of the bank was to collect, store, process, and supply vital blood to those who need it.

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But why would a person need someone else’s blood? If someone has just undergone surgery or been injured, they may have lost more blood than their body can produce as quickly as they need it to. In this situation, donated blood can be transfused into a patient’s body to replenish the supply.

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Like most technology, blood banking and transfusion technology has advanced significantly since its inception. Blood donation was initially performed with simple hand-pumped mechanisms, and the blood was stored in glass bottles until needed. Now, blood is stored in plastic bags for easier transportation, and has a much longer shelf life. Modern machines can also spin donated blood at high rates, separating it into its component parts.

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A place that allows people to donate their own blood to save the lives of strangers in need? That’s just bloody cool!

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