But for programs like Heart to Heart, a vehicle for Christians to bless Israel by supporting Israel’s National Blood Bank, his legacy is something they give thanks to daily.
In remembrance of Dr. Drew’s death on April 1, 1950, and in tribute to his lifesaving work, Heart to Heart is sponsoring a blood drive among Christians visiting Jerusalem on Monday.
“Dr. Drew’s work saved literally millions of lives in the past 70 years,” said Jonathan Feldstein, Heart to Heart Director. “Blood transfusions and long-term blood storage is something that most people don’t think much about, but many routine surgeries today would be impossible if not for his pioneering work. Then consider accident and terrorist victims, and soldiers injured in war who have been saved by blood transfusions, and you get a better sense of the scope of his impact.”
Dr. Drew attended Amherst College and McGill University, where he earned his medical degree in 1933, and earned a Master of Surgery degree. He then attended Columbia University, becoming the first African-American to earn a Doctor of Medical Science.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Dr. Drew headed “Blood for Britain,” an American initiative designed to aid British soldiers. His pioneering work revolutionized blood storage and was the foundation for the American Red Cross Blood Bank. Drew was vocal critic of the practice of segregating blood by race, citing that the practice had no basis in science.
Ultimately, his work saved the lives of thousands of Allied forces. In 1943, in recognition of his achievements, he became the first black surgeon to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.
Dr. Drew died at age 45 following a car accident en route to a conference he attended every year in Tuskegee, Alabama. He died shortly after being taken to a hospital in Burlington, North Carolina. Three other African-American physicians with him suffered minor injuries. Dr. Drew’s death became a cause célèbre amid speculation that his race played a role in his receiving compromised medical care in what was then the segregated South. However, the doctors traveling with Dr. Drew said the white doctors treating him spared no effort on his behalf.
For information about Heart to Heart, visitwww.afmda.org/hearttoheart firstname.lastname@example.org.