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Today In History – March 15

March 15, 1937. The first blood bank opened in the United States of America.

Dr. Bernard Fantus created innovations in storing and transfusing blood in the early 1900s. Due to this, and under Dr. Fantus’ leadership, the first blood bank was opened at Cook County Hospital. Fantus’ blood bank was created in an attempt to be able to easily match patients in need of a transfusion with a matching donor. If you needed a transfusion before this time, there would have had to have been a donor on-site at the time the transfusion was required.

In 1936, there were about six hundred-fifty transfusions. After the blood bland was established, there were over one-thousand-three-hundred-fifty-four transfusions a year later. Today, almost a hundred years later, blood transfusions are vital and always needed.

“You are eligible to donate blood if you:
• Weigh at least 110 pounds.
• Are in good physical health.
• Are at least 17 years old (there is no upper age limit).
• Have not given blood in the past eight weeks (56 days).
• As of March 2, 2010 Life Source will no longer be deferring donors who received a tattoo after January 1, 2010 in a state that regulates its tattoo facilities. (Illinois is a regulated state.)
You are not eligible to donate blood if you:
• Have had hepatitis (not including childhood exposure).
• Are pregnant.
• Have ever tested positive for HIV, have engaged in high risk behavior, or have had intimate contact with anyone at risk for AIDS.”[1]

[1] “CCH Celebrates 75th Anniversary of the World’s First Blood Bank – Cook County Health,” accessed March 2, 2023,

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