Title: Good Blood : A Doctor, A Donor, and the Incredible Breakthrough that Saved Millions of Babies
Author: Julian Guthrie
Publisher: Abrams Books
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Book Source: Hardcover
“In 1951 in Sydney, Australia, a fourteen-year-old boy named James Harrison was near death when he received a transfusion of blood that saved his life. A few years later, and half a world away, a shy young doctor at Columbia University realized he was more comfortable in the lab than in the examination room. Neither could have imagined how their paths would cross, or how they would change the world.
In Good Blood, bestselling writer Julian Guthrie tells the gripping tale of the race to cure a horrible blood disease known as Rh disease that stalked families and caused a mother’s immune system to attack her own unborn child. The story is anchored by two very different men on two continents: Dr. John Gorman in New York, who would land on a brilliant yet contrarian idea, and an unassuming Australian whose almost magical blood—and his unyielding devotion to donating it—would save millions of lives.
Good Blood takes us from Australia to America, from research laboratories to hospitals, and even into Sing Sing prison, where experimental blood trials were held. It is a tale of discovery and invention, the progress and pitfalls of medicine, and the everyday heroics that fundamentally changed the health of women and babies.” – Amazon
What an interesting medical mystery. I had never heard about Rh disease, mainly because I don’t have children and it is handled pretty well in the United States now. But it was fascinating and terrifying to learn about, and what is even more tragic is how prevalent it still is in other countries, when something so simple and not dangerous can prevent it.
About two-thirds of the book focused more on the science and doctors who were trying to find a cure. It was so well written that even a layperson could understand the more scientific aspects of the journey, which I greatly appreciated. You could feel the doctors’ frustration when fellow doctors wouldn’t take their ideas seriously or they could not find funding for their cause. I felt vindicated when Dr. Gorman had his breakthrough and I can only imagine how wonderful he felt.
Throughout the book we get peeks into James Harrison’s life and his amazing feat of some many blood donations, at one point being put in the Guinness Book of World Records. This added another layer to the story, showing more of the emotional or human side, and was a great way to encourage readers to donate blood.
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