A History of HaematologyFrom Herodotus to HIV

A History of HaematologyFrom Herodotus to HIV

Shaun R. McCann

Print publication date: Mar 2016

ISBN: 9780198717607

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Abstract

Blood and the history of the diagnoses and treatment of blood diseases are of interest to many people. This book traces the development of the interest in diseases of the blood since earliest times. Rituals associated with blood together with a belief held until relatively recently that blood contains the soul or memory is explored. Certain figures that appear to have been airbrushed out of history are rightly reinstated. The role of conflict/war as a catalyst in developing new techniques especially in blood transfusion are documented from the early part of the twentieth century through the Spanish Civil War and the two world wars, including the research into the making of the atomic bomb. The halcyon days of the early 1980s, subsequently followed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, are explored, together with the human response to that crisis. Novel developments since the 1980s are documented, including changes in diagnostic technologies and the genetic revolution. The success of the treatment of malignant blood diseases, culminating in the concept of ‘personalized medicine’ is critically evaluated. The new era in haematology, as in other branches of medicine, will undoubtedly bring challenges as well as benefits. The relationships between doctors and their patients are undergoing profound changes, and the final results of that change may throw up more problems than solutions. The relentless increase in bureaucracy and the takeover by modern management techniques is critically evaluated.