THE ORIGINS OF THE BLOOD TRANSFUSION
EUROPEAN LITERATURE AND ITALIAN DEBATE ON NEW INNOVATIONS (1667-1668)
This paper deals with the literary debate on the first experiments regarding blood transfusion on human beings between 1667 and 1668 in Europe, with particular attention to the less-known experimental research, carried out in Italy. The authors examine the details of the experimental developments, focusing on the techniques and instruments used by physicians involved in this new surgical approach, with special attention to the Italian debate and experimentations. The article suggests that transfusion was considered a part of what we could call “emergency surgery”. In this framework, Italian transfusional pioneers played a central role in the improvement and transmission of a discipline that was still in its dawning throughout Europe. Moreover, the manuscript highlights the contribution of the “chirurgia infusoria” as an innovative therapeutic system for an immediate and rapid recovery. From this perspective, blood transfusion represents a surgical practice for reanimation and resuscitation. The objective of this work was to analyze the importance of foreign literature and the English and French disputes presented by Davia in Italy, which made them known. Despite foreign prohibition in Italy, experiments with animal-to-human transfusions continued after 1648. A papal bull excommunicating scientists for conducting such research has never been found.