Blood transfusion

This Heartwarming Video Reminds Us Dogs Can Donate Blood, Too

Dogs can have both psychological and physical health benefits for humans, and we know they’ve saved human lives many times. But did you know that they can help save lives of other dogs, too?

A new video from BBC South Today demonstrates how dogs, like people, are capable of donating blood for use in transfusions for surgeries and other emergencies. A dog owner in the video explains that one round of donation can save as many as four other dogs, which, as he says, “is quite incredible.”

The requirements for blood donation may differ slightly based on where you live, but Seattle-based veterinarian Beth Davidow, director of medical quality for BluePearl animal hospital and founder of the pet blood bank ACCES, told HuffPost the basic requirements in the U.S. are the same as those described in the BBC video. At her bank, staff typically accept blood from both cats and dogs between the ages of one and six, and stop taking donations from animal…

9 Little-Known Contributions to Medicine

Before you tune in to National Geographic’s next episode of Origins (Mondays at 9/8 CST) to see how medicine shaped the course of human history, get to know an assortment of under-sung or oft-forgotten scientists, whose discoveries and inventions played important roles in saving individual lives—and arguably, entire civilizations.

Little is known about Metrodora, an ancient Greek physician who likely lived sometime between the third to fifth centuries CE—except that she’s credited for being the first-known woman to write a medical text. Called On the Diseases and Cures of Women, or On Women’s Diseases, it outlined various topics related to women’s health (including gynecology), and listed various herbal remedies. Other Greek and Roman physicians relied on Metrodora’s work, and it was also referenced in Medieval Europe.


In 1818, a British obstetrician named James Blundell performed the first successful human-to-human blood transfusion. One of his patients suffered from postpartum hemorrhage, so Blundell used a syringe to extract several ounces of blood from her husband’s arm, and transferred it to the suffering mother. Blundell would go on to perform more transfusions—half of them effective—between 1825 and 1830, and he also published his findings and developed medical equipment for the procedure.

In 1931, Owen Wangensteen, the chief of surgery at the University of Minnesota, invented a suction technique—using what became known as a “Wangensteen tube”—that would eventually save millions of lives. Back then, trauma to the stomach region often resulted in an intestinal blockage that led to eventual—yet nearly certain—death. The surgeon was able to prevent this by threading his tube through patients’ noses, through the esophagus, and down into the stomach and intestines, where it sucked out gases and fluids. The invention eventually became commonplace, but the surgeon refused to patent his device, as he believed that everyone should benefit from its potential.

An 11th-century Persian scholar named Ibn Sina (known in Europe as Avicenna) produced a famous, five-volume medical reference work called Kitab al-Qanun fi al-tibb (Canon of Medicine). The work’s second volume discusses the characteristics of basic drugs—and the second chapter, “On knowledge of the potency of drugs through experimentation,” provides scientific guidelines to follow while assessing their effects. Today, it’s considered to…