Blood transfusion apparatus, United Kingdom, 1914–1918

Active selection in cart:
Blood transfusion apparatus, United Kingdom, 1914–1918. It’s 1917, and you are a wounded soldier at a casualty clearing station on the Western Front. You are bleeding badly and going into shock. You are in danger of dying and urgently need blood – where’s the nearest blood bank? He’s right next to you. Your blood transfusion will come directly from another patient. Is it safe? It’s the best method available at the time, particularly if your surgeon is Lieutenant Geoffrey Keynes of the Royal Army Medical Corps. He designed and pioneered this portable blood transfusion kit, with a special device in the flask for regulating flow. Why didn’t Keynes use stored blood? It didn’t keep very well. It needed to be refrigerated – a difficult task in field hospitals, and it clotted into lumps unless an anticoagulant was added. While it became technically possible to do this during the First World War, the patient-to-patient method was still more widely used. Matching of blood groups was recommended, but there was not always time. The first blood banks stored O type blood – suitable for all recipients. But in the meantime, you were lucky to have reached a casualty clearing station, to take your chances with an emergency transfusion. And who better than with Lieutenant (later Sir) Geoffrey Keynes? In 1921 he co-founded London’s Blood Transfusion Service, and a year later published Britain’s first textbook on the subject. Contributors: Science Museum, London. Work ID: gmz8tngz.

Free public domain image

To download this free image, please register (this takes just 30 seconds) or log in.

Video guide

This is one of 931,463 free hi-res public domain images, selected from major public collections to complement the Look and Learn archive, and to save you time and money. Typically, it may be used for any purpose, but users should check the precise terms and satisfy themselves that the intended use will not infringe the rights of any third party.

Buy products

You can buy personalised gifts, including t-shirts, tote bags and mousemats, featuring this image from our print partner, Zazzle:

Choose products

Can we help?

Look and Learn is one of the world’s leading sources of historical and cultural images for personal and commercial use. Feel free to contact us with any questions or requests.