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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course The Story of Phlebotomy: A Historical Perspective. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

1600s Through 1800s - Bloodletting Falls in Disfavor

Bloodletting came under increasing attacks and began to fall into disfavor after the 1850’s. This is not to say that there were no prior antagonists. The physician Erasistratus in the 3rd century expressed concern about the volume of blood withdrawn and the potential adverse results from severing an artery, tendon, or nerve. Thanks in part to the efforts of Pasteur, Koch, and Virchow, once the concept of microorganisms was understood as a causative factor in disease, the search for a cure for disease followed a different course. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a prominent physician, Dean of Harvard Medical School, and father of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., noted that “The lancet was the magician’s wand of the dark ages.”
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons