T. J. Greenwalt, MD
JAMA. 1965;191(5):406-407. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080050052016.
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Those of us who have had our 25th class reunions will recall that there was a time when a blood transfusion was a formidable procedure to be avoided whenever possible. The technical developments in blood-banking procedures during the last two decades have made blood transfusion appear superficially as simple as ordering an infusion of glucose. Many fail to recognize that it is rather remarkable that blood, the fluid portion of the hematopoietic organ, can be taken from one person and given to another with beneficial effects. With most other tissues, elaborate preparations are necessary before transplantation is attempted, unless donor and recipient are identical twins. It is therefore not surprising that blood transfusions may be complicated by deleterious reactions and should be undertaken only after judicious weighing of expected benefits against potential dangers.

The literature describing new developments in transfusion practice has become prohibitively voluminous. In order to help the


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