Researching Artifacts

Researching Artifacts

What is it?

4/07/2022 | Mark Hanson, Curator

This fascinating artifact is a new acquisition. Dating to around 1895, it once belonged to Dr. Phillip Lawrence Garvey from Coles County. At first, we thought it was a hypodermic syringe kit. More research revealed it is actually a blood transfusion set!

Transfusions replace blood and blood products in a patient by adding more intravenously. The idea of blood transfusions has been around for a long time. When first performed, they were dangerous and often led to death. Beginning in the 20th century, medical science caught up with the concept. Transfusions are quite common and safe today.

We are not quite sure how everything in this transfusion set works. For example, what we thought must be some sort of syringe is actually a hand pump! Thank goodness for modern transfusion techniques!