Charles Drew PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 22 October 2011 09:48


Charles Richard Drew

Born: 3 June 1904 Washington, D.C., USA

Died: 1 April 1950 Burlington, North Carolina, USA

Age: 45

Cause of death: Injuries sustained in car crash.

Notable because: First African American to achieve Doctor of Medical Science degree (at Columbia). Became the first black surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery. Died tragically young.

Charles  Drew was an 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. The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed. 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. 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.

Drew was born to Richard Thomas Drew and Nora Burrell in Washington, DC. He attended Meads Mill Elementary School, and began working as a paperboy selling copies of the Washington Times-Herald while attending school. In 1918, he enrolled at Dunbar High School, a racially segregated high school with a reputation for being one of the strongest academic African-American public schools in the country. Drew’s sister Elsie, who was ailing with tuberculosis, died of pandemic influenza in 1920. Her death influenced his decision to study medicine.

His 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, receiving his M.D. in 1933 as well as a Master of Surgery degree, and ranked 2nd in his class of 127 students. 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

Dr. Drew became a researcher and general surgeon, teaching and practicing within medical schools and teaching hospitals. He worked and taught at Freedman's Hospital, Morgan State University, Montreal General Hospital and Howard University.

Dr. Drew sitting with medical residents at Freedmen's Hospital.

Soon after he began his career due to his excellence, Dr. 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.

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. 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. As a result, the Blood Transfusion Betterment Association applauded Drew for his work. Out of his work came the American Red Cross Blood Bank.

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.

A persistent urban legend (even recounted in an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H and Philip Roth's 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. 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."

Charles Drew: Doctor Who Got the World Pumped Up to Donate Blood (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors and Scientists)

Author: Mike Venezia
Manufacturer: Childrens Pr
Amazon Price: $6.95
Offers - Buy New From: $4.71 Used From: $2.00
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Editorial Review: - The format of the series is unique, with humorous, cartoon-like original illustrations from the author.
- This series is printed in a dozen different languages worldwide; more than two million copies of the English editions have been sold since its initial publication.
- Special sales potential in museum gift shops.
- Perfect for developing scientists and critical thinkers.
- Emphasizes the hard work, patience, and fearless curiosity needed to do great science.


One Blood: The Death and Resurrection of Charles R. Drew

Author: Spencie Love
Manufacturer: The University of North Carolina Press
Amazon Price: $39.95
Offers - Buy New From: $69.74 Used From: $5.55
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Editorial Review: One Blood traces both the life of the famous black surgeon and blood plasma pioneer Dr. Charles Drew and the well-known legend about his death. On April 1, 1950, Drew died after an auto accident in rural North Carolina. Within hours, rumors spread: the man who helped create the first American Red Cross blood bank had bled to death because a whites-only hospital refused to treat him. Drew was in fact treated in the emergency room of the small, segregated Alamance General Hospital. Two white surgeons worked hard to save him, but he died after about an hour. In her compelling chronicle of Drew's life and death, Spencie Love shows that in a generic sense, the Drew legend is true: throughout the segregated era, African Americans were turned away at hospital doors, either because the hospitals were whites-only or because the 'black beds' were full. Love describes the fate of a young black World War II veteran who died after being turned away from Duke Hospital following an auto accident that occurred in the same year and the same county as Drew's. African Americans are shown to have figuratively 'bled to death' at white hands from the time they were first brought to this country as slaves. By preserving their own stories, Love says, they have proven the enduring value of oral history. General Interest/Race Relations


The Life of Dr. Charles Drew: Blood Bank Innovator (Legendary African Americans)

Author: Anne Schraff
Manufacturer: Enslow Publishers
Amazon Price: $12.88
Offers - Buy New From: $12.88
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Editorial Review: Today, thanks to the work of a brilliant young doctor, blood banks and successful blood transfusions are commonplace. Dr. Charles Drew's pioneering research with blood plasma and storage made this possible. At a time of crippling racial segregation and prejudice, Drew proved that black doctors were equal to white doctors. During World War II, he created the first large-scale system for preserving blood, shipping seventeen thousand pints overseas for soldiers in Great Britain. Since then, millions of men, women, and children worldwide owe their lives to his work. In this page-turning account, author Anne Schraff demystifies Drew's extraordinary research and dispels the false rumors around his tragic and untimely death.


The Ancient Love Song: Finding Christ in the Old Testament

Author: Charles D. Drew
Manufacturer: P & R Publishing
Amazon Price: $15.99
Offers - Buy New From: $6.50 Used From: $2.50
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Editorial Review: Drew pursues Christ in the history, wisdom, law, prophecy, and poetry of the Old Testament. This work makes a persuasive case for the continuing relevance of the Old Testament to modern Christians’ faith and lives.


Charles Drew: Pioneer in Medicine (Fact Finders Biographies: Great African Americans)

Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Manufacturer: Capstone Press
Amazon Price: $26.65
Offers - Buy New From: $21.92 Used From: $3.50
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Editorial Review: Provides an introduction to the life and biography of Charles Drew, the African American doctor noted for his work with blood and blood plasma.


Last Updated on Saturday, 22 October 2011 10:12

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