Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Planning Ahead and Emergency Blood Transfusion

Blood Transfusion Bottle (Wikimedia)
Many leaders struggle with vision.

Planning ahead is essential for future prosperity. As a wise man once said, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18).

Non-profits are notorious for not "thinking ahead." For-profit businesses must "think ahead" because they'll go out of business if they don't. Non-profits assume people will give regardless. The problem of assuming continual donations is "today's financial supporters are tomorrow's funeral services."

Non-profits must plan ahead to captivate a new generation.

I recently read a book entitled Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood.

Author Rose George recounts how a woman saved Great Britain from devastating casualties during World War II by thinking ahead and being prepared for blood transfusions that would be needed by the people of Great Britain during Germany's attack. It's a leadership lesson on vision and planning.

The following is an excerpt from Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood.
Janet Vaughan (Wikimedia Commons)
Few women have had a bigger impact on British medical care than Dame Janet Vaughan.
Born in 1899, Vaughan fought to receive an education when educated women were frowned upon, studying medical sciences at the University of Oxford and graduating with distinction. While at Oxford, she also first encountered her lifelong passion: the research of blood.

After graduating, she received a Rockefeller Scholarship to study at Harvard. The only female student at the university during her time there, she wasn’t even permitted to study the blood of human patients – instead, she had to study pigeon blood.Even so, she managed to conduct pioneering research on vitamin B12 deficiencies in blood.
Back in England, Vaughan established herself as an expert on blood diseases. In 1934, she published The Anaemias, a groundbreaking textbook in the field of hematology – the study of blood.

But her most important medical contribution lay ahead. 
With the Spanish Civil War raging, Vaughan read about the trailblazing Catalan doctor Frederic Durán-Jordà. During the conflict, Durán-Jordà set up an astoundingly efficient system for the collection, storage and transportation of blood. In this system, nurses were permitted to collect blood before it was whisked off to the front lines, freeing up doctors’ time. The blood was then taken in converted fish vans, showing an improvisational approach toward available resources – a strategy Vaughan would later borrow.
With another world war looming, Vaughan knew Britain needed a similar system. In the Spanish Civil War, 10 percent of the casualties of bombing raids needed blood transfusions. Based on these figures, a bombed London could need 6,500 transfusions per day.

So, Vaughan set up the Emergency Blood Transfusion Service (EBTS). There would be four EBTS depots set up just outside London, taking blood from donors and delivering it to city hospitals. It would be stored in milk bottles and delivered in converted ice cream trucks, which were capable of refrigeration.

The EBTS was prepared when war began. Each depot distributed tens of thousands of bottles of blood, and during wartime, the EBTS saved countless lives. In 1946 – two years before the NHS, Britain’s National Health Service, was founded – the EBTS became the Blood Transfusion Service, serving a peacetime population. None of this would have happened if war hadn’t instilled the value of collective sacrifice in the British population, along with the idea of blood as a donation, which persists to this day. And it also wouldn’t have happened without Dame Janet Vaughan.
Hundreds of thousands of lives were saved in Great Britain during World War II because of the foresight of one woman, Dame Janet Vaughan. She serves as an illustration to us all of the importance of planning and vision.  


Rex Ray said...



I think it’s sad we’ve dropped Christian songs about the blood of Jesus.

Blood enables us to live. I remember our Dad telling of Medics unable to get blood into the arm of a German soldier. As they turned away, he held up his other arm.

Once, blood vessels ruptured when I threw up on spoiled hotel food. I was in a hospital in ten minutes, but being on blood thinner, I ran out of blood and stopped breathing. They used my blood and inject a needle into my heart.

Rex Ray said...


Last night at a revival, my ‘filter’ gave me a ‘flashback’ of a previous sermon I’d heard that upset me.

Both had in common:
A church I’d never attended before.
Stories kept people in laughter.
Never praising Jesus.

Different was:
Preacher was White; other was Black.
White stories about golf; Black about his wife.
White was YMCA; Black was TV comedy.
White told me never come back; Black invited me back.

Rileydogbarks said...

One principle about vision I take from this story is that our vision must involve the implication of life alternation. If the vision for our church is not about changing lives, it will not last.