History of Blood 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.