Learn About Blood

Blood group basics, interesting facts, testing, what blood is used for

History of Transfusion

These are the main events in the history of blood transfusion and Irish blood organisations from 1665 to today.

17th to 19th Century

  • 1665 - Dr. Richard Lower successfully transfused blood from one dog to another!
  • 1667 - Jean Denys, physican to Louis XIV of France transfused blood of a lamb into a human.
  • 1818 - The first human to human blood transfusion took place in London.

20th Century

  • 1900 - Dr. Karl Landsteiner discovered that there were three main human blood groups which became known as A, B and O. Read about Blood Groups here.
  • The St. John ambulance Brigade in Ireland set up an 'on call' blood donor panel to serve hospitals in the Dublin area.
  • 1936 - The first 'Blood bank' was opened in Cook County Hospital, Chicago - home of the tv drama series 'ER'
  • Before World War II, when a patient required a transfusion, donors had to go to the hospital where the patient was so that they could be directly transfused. These donors were known as 'donors on the hoof'.
  • 1948 - The Minister for Health established the National Blood Transfusion Association in Ireland
  • 1965 - The Blood Transfusion Service Board (BTSB) came into existence
  • 1975 - The Cork Blood Transfusion Service was absorbed by the BTSB.
  • 1991 - The Limerick Blood Transfusion Service was absorbed by the BTSB.

21st Century

  • 2000 - The name of the organisation was changed to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.