The extraordinary life of Janet Vaughan
March 12, 2015 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Douglas Starr, in Blood, quotes the British Secretary of War, asked in 1937 what the nation proposed to do about a mass blood supply. The secretary was dismissive. Blood could not be stored for long or in great quantities, he said. On the hoof was better. “It was more satisfactory to store our blood in our people.” Janet Vaughan did not agree, and Janet Vaughan did something about it. Her medical director gave her £100, and she sent off her assistants in taxis to find all the tubing that London shops could provide.
Longreads profiles Janet Vaughan, a British scientist who found better treatments for anemia than arsenic using herself as a test subject, was a major force in creating London's first blood banks using cheap tubing and ice cream trucks, studied emergency nutrition in a post-liberation concentration Nazi death camp, and continued active research into blood and radiation into her eighties, while occasionally serving as a model for Virginia Woolf characters.
posted by Stacey (6 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I thought only with some relief that everyone would finally be able to spell my Welsh third name, usually a puzzle even to English speakers.

[scroll up to read author's name]

"Rose George".

Grr. I hate spelling teases.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:38 PM on March 12, 2015

Wow. Great read. What an amazing person.

And, uh, it turns out I did a FPP on another article by this author previously. Still no idea what her middle name is, though.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:48 PM on March 12, 2015

Fascinating article - thanks for posting it!
posted by leslies at 7:52 PM on March 12, 2015

Stacey: "“It was more satisfactory to store our blood in our people.”"

Well, I have to say, this has always been my personal policy when it comes to my blood. I have no plans to change it.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:15 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Rose George is the best. She wrote one of my favorite books about shit.
posted by ghostpony at 8:19 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting this. What an inspiring life story.
posted by daisyk at 10:04 AM on March 14, 2015

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