Unsuccessful Blood Transfusion


1910-cottage-hospital-wmOn Saturday 5th February 1927, a case of blood transfusion was reported from the Cottage Hospital Blantyre. Attempting blood transfusions, was still quite a risky and dangerous thing to do.

The patient was a young man of thirty years of age, and the doctor decided this course in the hope of saving his life. Volunteers were called for locally, and seven men presented themselves to assist. Three of them emerged successfully from the blood test. They then tossed a coin for the honour in performing the transfusion.

The blood transfusion took place, and the patient improved slightly, but sadly died at the hospital two days later.

Pictured here, 17 years earlier, with gardens still in their infancy, not long after the hospital opened in 1910, is Blantyre Cottage Hospital on Bardykes Road, which today still stands as a private home.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

The newspaper article is as follows exactly. The death certificate was shared here by Arch Park, the nephew of James.




A blood transfusion operation took place in Blantyre Cottage Hospital on Sunday, the patient being a young man named James Park, whose parents reside at 7 John Street, and who had been under treatment in the hospital for some time. His condition was latterly giving serious concern, and the doctor decided, as a last resort, to try the experiment of blood transfusion. On Saturday night a call was made locally for volunteers, and Sunday morning seven men appeared at the hospital and offered themselves. Each of the young men were subjected to a blood test and three of them came through it successfully. The doctor left it to the three men themselves to decide which of them should sacrifice fully half a pint of blood. Each one of the men was anxious to assist the patient, and eventually they decided to select one of themselves by spinning a coin, and it fell to the lot of a young man, John Duncan, residing at Merrys’ Rows, Blantyre, to have the unique honour of giving his blood in the hope that it would save his friend.

After the operation the patient appeared to be making satisfactory progress, but he unfortunately suffered a relapse yesterday and succumbed during the afternoon.

The volunteer, of course, was detained in the hospital, but is now none the worse of his experience.


Mr and Mrs PARK and Family desire to thank the Matron and Nurses of the Cottage Hospital, Rev. D. W. Thomson, Dr. Fisher, and all friends and neighbours for their kind expressions of sympathy in their recent sad bereavement. — 7 John Street, Blantyre.

On social media:

George Hay Mrs Glen lived here (not sure if she still does), she was a primary teacher at High Blantyre primary then moved on to working as a Science teacher at Blantyre high school.
Elizabeth Dobson Grieve Yes Mrs Glen was still there a couple of years ago
Alison Glen My mother in law Mrs Glen still lives with us at the house. Thankfully medicine has come a long way as this is posted on the day my Uncle is having a blood transfusion. Lovely to see this photo as it’s one I haven’t seen before! Thanks for posting Paul!
George Hay Please pass on my best wishes to Mrs Glen, she was my teacher at both primary & secondary school & always had a high regard for her.
Anne Mackie beautiful house xx
Henry Hambley Very interesting piece of history. Oct 1921 saw the establishment of blood donor panel at Kings College Hospital, probably the first in the world. Over the years these local panels were how blood transfusion were delivered. It was only with the coming of WW2, that the need for a nationwide emergency blood transfusion service was realised and set up.
Carol Crombie The most stunning property in Blantyre

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