Blood - An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce
- By: Alex Brooks
Blood in its myriad of preparations has become a mainstay of modern medical practice. It is easy to forget that transfusion has been common medical practice only since 1915, when the anticlotting properties of sodium citrate were discovered.
This book traces the history of blood use, from using “gentle calf” blood in France in the 17th century to tame madmen up until the tragedy of AIDS contamination in a multibillion dollar industry.
The author debates whether blood can be considered a natural resource, like oil. A barrel of crude oil sells for around $13 (£8) (1999 prices), but when it has been “cracked” it is worth around $42 (£27). A barrel of blood is worth around $2 000 (£1 280); to buy the products derived from it would cost you more than $67 000 (\P42 900).
Until reading Blood I had, naively, never thought about the politics involved in blood