BLUNDELL, James.

Researches Physiological and Pathological: instituted principally with a view to the improvement of medical and surgical practice.

[London:] E. Cox and Son,... .1825

8vo, 3 leaves, pp. (3)–146, 3 engraved plates. Half-title, sub-title before the text. Plates rather foxed, and dampstained along upper edge, a few spots in the text. Original boards, neatly rebacked, corners worn, uncut. PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed at the head of the title: “To _ Windsor Esqre with the Authors respects”.

FIRST EDITION. In this book Blundell described his work on blood transfusion. He was the first to use human blood for human blood transfusion, in 1819 (G&M 2015.1). Very little progress had been made in that field since the seventeenth century because of repeated failures. Blundell began his experiments on dogs, inventing a syringe for the specific purpose of transfusing blood (G&M 2015). Because of the obvious risks, Blundell suggested transfusion only for its true purpose, that is, for cases in which haemorrhaging was a danger to life, and not for the cure of senility, insanity, or other chronic diseases. He argued for the use of blood from the same species, having proved with his experiments on dogs that disastrous results came from using even the smallest quantity of blood from different species (thereby establishing the principle of incompatibility). He described experiments using direct transfusion by tubes, direct transfusion using a device of his own invention called a “impellor” (illustrated in plates 2 and 3), and indirect transfusion using his own syringe, the last becoming his favoured method. At the end of the book Blundell describes six cases of human to human transfusion, although none of his patients survived (probably because they were in no condition to do so, two of them being already dead). By 1828, however, he was able to report in the Lancet (G&M 2017) that he had performed a successful human to human blood transfusion. See Keynes (ed.), Blood transfusion, pp. 20–23 (incorrectly stating that Blundell described transfusing a human subject in his first paper of 1818). This book, of which there was only one edition, was Blundell’s only publication on the subject in book form, his other publications mentioned above being journal articles. He was obstetrician to St. Thomas’s and Guy’s Hospitals, and devotes the first part of the book to obstetrics.

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