"Famine and disease have won more battles than soldiers; our job of fighting the war can be greatly simplified by keeping them under control," Dr. Carl W. Walter '28, associate in Surgery, said Wednesday evening at New Lecture Hall in a talk on the Red Cross blood bank.
Indirect transfusions have been of greatest importance in saving lives in Britain, according to Walter, who is technical director of the blood donation center in Boston. A supply of blood plasma on reserve in this country may save the lives of a many American soldiers who have been badly wounded.
Plasma Must Be Used
Blood itself cannot be kept for a long time and it must be of the same type as that of the man who receives it. Since there are four major types and 72 sub-types, the problems in using the blood are too great to be solved on the battle-field, according to Dr. Walter.
To circumvent this difficulty, the blood is transformed into typeless plasma by removing the red cells and drying. When combined with a liquid, this plasma can be used very efficiently in saving lives. "This is one way we can salvage valuable manpower from the destruction of war", said Dr. Walter.
The experiment of donating blood was started in 1940 when a drive to send plasma to Britain began. Its success prompted the large scale blood bank which is now being carried on by the Red Cross.