Dr. Charles Richard Drew
June 3, 1904
April 1, 1950
Place of Birth:
Washington, District of Columbia
Charles Drew is most noted for inventing a system of storing blood and blood plasma.
His parents, his father a carpet layer and his mother a teacher, were both insistent their three children receive a good education.
Drew did well both in academics and sports in high school.
He received his Doctorate degree from Montreal's McGill University in 1933.
His bacteriology teacher, Dr. John Beattie, gave Charles Drew an interest in blood groups.
Drew also completed his internship and residency in Canada.
In 1935, he returned to Washington to work in the Howard University Medical College.
Drew continued worked as an instructor in surgery while learning as much as possible about blood, blood separation, and blood banks.
He earned a Sc. D. degree in 1940 from Columbia University writing a thesis dealing with methods of blood preservation.
Drew discovered that the liquid part of the blood could be stored separate from the blood plasma and the blood could be restored later.
World War II brought Charles Drew into situations requiring blood supply to French troops and, later, American troops.
He was appalled in learning the blood was to be collected and stored on a segregated basis separated by race.
In 1950, his work with blood supplies came to an abrupt end when he was killed in a car accident.
Charles Drew was honored when the National Medical Association posthumously awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal.
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Last Updated: January 22, 2017
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