Cape Cod Science Cafe Celebrating Healthy Kids

Paul Reibach, Ph.D.
508-317-0108 E-mail: preibach@smithers.com

Hand’s-On Biographies
Reproducing Famous Scientific Experiments Dr. Charles Drew - BLOOD CHEMISTRY
Charles Drew was born on June 3, l904 in Washington, D. C. Although slavery had been abolished, Drew grew up at a time when segregation in the United States was enforced. Drew felt this was an unfair practice, and throughout his life he spoke openly against it. When he was a student at Amherst College in Massachusetts, he was a star athlete. He played football, ran track, and was on the swimming team. When his teams traveled to other places, he was often denied admission to a hotel because he was black. He was also denied certain awards; yet, he still graduated with top honors from Amherst in 1926. He decided to become a doctor. He attended McGill University in Canada, graduating with an MD in 1933. Charles R. Drew was a teacher, physician and medical researcher. In the latter role, his accomplishments were nothing short of brilliant. Awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship in surgery in 1938 at Columbia University, Drew wrote a doctoral thesis entitled, "Banked Blood." In his research he discovered that by separating plasma (the liquid part of blood) from the whole blood (where the red blood cells exist) and then refrigerating them separately, blood lasted longer and was less likely to become contaminated. Drew also demonstrated that everyone has the same type of plasma; thus, in those instances where a whole blood transfusion is unnecessary, a plasma transfusion could be administered, regardless of blood type. He helped establish a blood bank at Columbia University and became the first African American to receive a Doctor of Medical Science degree from that university. During World War II, Drew was appointed Supervisor of the Blood Transfusion Association for New York City and oversaw the "Blood for Britain" program, which saved the lives of many wounded soldiers. This success led to his appointment as Director of the Red Cross Blood Bank and Assistant Director of the National Research Council, responsible for blood collection for the United States Navy and Army. He resigned in protest of the United States War Department's policy that African American blood should be separated from the blood of White Americans. Drew eventually became Chief of Staff and Medical Director of Freedman's Hospital and Head of Surgery at Howard University, where he was an influential teacher and a role model to students interested in medicine.

On April 1, 1950, Drew was traveling to the Andrew Memorial Clinic in Tuskegee, Alabama to deliver a lecture. He was accompanied by three of his resident physicians from Howard University. All four passengers were Black. Drew apparently fell asleep while driving. The car ran off the road (N.C.49 near Haw River), and rolled over. He was thrown out of the car and the vehicle rolled over him. Drew and Ford were taken to Alamance General Hospital, a facilities-poor "White" hospital. The White doctors at Alamance began work immediately on the two injured men. Drew's injuries were so severe and his loss of blood so great that he could not be saved. His family later wrote letters to the attending physicians thanking them for their efforts. Ford was treated at Alamance for several days before being transported to Washington, a Black hospital. Almost immediately rumors spread that Dr. Charles R. Drew, the internationally famous inventor of the blood bank, had died because a White hospital refused to give him a blood transfusion. To many African Americans the story was believable. In 1950 the South was still rigidly segregated, and Black Americans were often denied treatment in hospitals -- sometimes because the hospitals did not have vacant "Negro beds," and sometimes because the hospitals were for Whites only. Drew received emergency medical attention, but many Black Americans did not. Information Source: http://www.ferris.edu/news/jimcrow/question/june04.htm

OBJECTIVES: 1. Students will learn the names of the blood types and how they interact with each other when mixed. 2. Students will simulate the separation of whole blood into plasma and cells. 3. Students will learn that Charles Drew developed a method of separating red blood cells from plasma, which subsequently saved many lives during WW II.

Mixing Blood Types
MATERIALS NEEDED: Type A, Type B, and Type O “blood” glass vials pipettes PROCEDURE: 1) Transfer one pipette of type A blood to a glass vial. Make a hypothesis (prediction) about what will happen when you add type O blood. Now add 1 pipette of type O blood to the vial. Place cap on the vial and swirl gentle. Compare the result with your hypothesis. 2) Transfer one pipette of type B blood to a glass vial. Make a hypothesis (prediction) about what will happen when you add type O blood. Now add 1 pipette of type O blood to the vial. Place cap on the vial and swirl gentle. Compare the result with your hypothesis. 3) Transfer one pipette of type A blood to a glass vial. Make a hypothesis (prediction) about what will happen when you add type B blood. Now add 1 pipette of type O blood to the vial. Place cap on the vial and swirl gentle. Compare the result with your hypothesis. Blood Types Composition Type A = dilute vinegar with red food color (acid) Type B = dilute clear acrylic floor polish (base) Type O = water with red food color Explanation: The acrylic floor polish contains a plastic that is soluble in water when the pH is basic. When the pH becomes acidic the plastic is no longer soluble and precipitates. EXTENDED ACTIVITIES: Discussion: Why do you think we need to type blood? What might be some good reasons to test people's blood? How would coagulation effect blood flow in your body? Do some activities that change the heart beat rate and have children observe differences. Learn how to take a pulse. Do other lessons involving acids and bases. Blood type chart Gloves

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