House Concurrent Resolution No. 53




            Whereas, Dr. Charles Richard Drew was an African American physician and medical researcher in the field of blood transfusions, and developed improved techniques for blood storage; and


            Whereas, Dr. Charles Drew developed a technique for the long-term preservation of blood plasma. Prior to his discovery, blood could not be stored for more than two days because of the rapid breakdown of red blood cells; and


            Whereas, Dr. Drew discovered that by separating plasma from the whole blood and then refrigerating them separately, they could be combined up to a week later for a blood transfusion; and


            Whereas, Dr. Drew also discovered that while everyone has a certain type of blood - A, B, AB, or O - and thus prevented from receiving a full blood transfusion from someone with different blood, everyone has the same type of plasma. Thus, in certain cases where a whole blood transfusion is not necessary, it was sufficient to give a plasma transfusion which could be administered to anyone, regardless of their blood type; and


            Whereas, Dr. Drew applied his expert knowledge in developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II, saving thousands of lives of the Allied Forces, and convincing Columbia University to establish a blood bank; and


            Whereas, in late 1940, Dr. Drew set up and administered an early prototype program for collecting, testing, and distributing blood plasma in Britain. The Blood for Britain program in the United States was a project to aid British soldiers and civilians by giving blood to Britain. The program operated successfully for five months, with total collections of almost 15,000 people donating blood and over 5,500 vials of blood plasma; and 


            Whereas, Dr. Drew was named project director for the American Red Cross, but soon resigned his post after the United States War Department issued a directive that blood taken from White donors should be segregated from that of Black donors; and


            Whereas, Dr. Drew was the first African American to receive a Doctor of Medical Science degree from Columbia University, and in 1942 became the head of Howard University's Department of Surgery. Dr. Drew was initially the Chief of Surgery at Freedmen's Hospital, and later was named Chief of Staff and Medical Director for the Hospital; and


            Whereas, in 1948, Dr. Drew was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP for his work on blood plasma and became the first African American to be appointed an examiner by the American Board of Surgery; and


            Whereas, Dr. Drew was killed in an automobile accident in April 1950 on the way to a medical conference; and 


            Whereas, blood transfusions are sometimes the best way to treat and prevent some of the complications of sickle cell anemia. Two million African Americans, or 1 in 12, have the sickle cell trait and more than 80,000 people in the United States, 98% of whom are African American, are affected by sickle cell disease; and


            Whereas, Dr. Charles Drew has been considered one of the most honored and respected figures in the medical field and his development of the blood plasma bank has given a second chance of life to millions:


            Now, therefore, be it resolved that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-fifth General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby designates December 4, 2010, as "Dr. Charles Drew Recognition Day" in Missouri; and


            Be it further resolved that the General Assembly encourages and urges all citizens of the State of Missouri to participate in appropriate activities on Dr. Charles Drew Recognition Day to honor the medical revolution Dr. Drew made within the medical profession by storing blood plasma, establishing the American Red Cross blood bank, and organizing the world's first blood bank drive.