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Patrick Mollison

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 22 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1233
  1. Peter Davies
  1. petergdavies{at}

A pioneer in transfusion medicine

Patrick Mollison, who has died aged 97, was known as “the father of transfusion medicine.” His work enabled blood to be stored for longer, and his research on blood grouping and matching made transfusion safer. Renowned as the author of the classic textbook on transfusion, Blood Transfusion in Clinical Medicine, he was also one of the first doctors to enter the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of the second world war.

As a junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, on the outbreak of war, Mollison was dispatched to one of the capital’s four blood supply depots, at Sutton. Initially, his only job was to take blood from donors and build stocks for treating civilian casualties. During the Blitz he delivered blood on demand to hospitals, driving a small van with partially masked sidelights through the blackout, then helping transfuse patients.

When the Medical Research Council began a programme at the depot, Mollison and a colleague carried out a systematic study of acidified citrate dextrose solutions (ACDs). They discovered that blood …

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