Watchtower Blood Transfusion, Denys and Crile
“It is of no consequence that the blood is taken into the body through the veins instead of the mouth. Nor does the claim by some that it is not the same as intravenous feeding carry weight. The fact is that it nourishes or sustains the life of the body. In harmony with this is a statement in the book Hemorrhage and Transfusion, by George W. Crile, A.M., M.D., who quotes a letter from Denys, French physician and early researcher in the field of transfusions. It says: “In performing transfusion it is nothing else than nourishing by a shorter road than ordinary—that is to say, placing in the veins blood all made in place of taking food which only turns to blood after several changes.””—Respect for the Sanctity of Blood, The Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1961 p. 558
Watchtower cites the book by Crile as an authoritative source supporting the view that blood transfusion “nourishes or sustains the life of the body.” Watchtower fails to point out that Denys lived and worked in the 17th century.
Watchtower takes the quoted words above from the chapter VII titled A Brief History in Transfusion. In the same work by Crile we have chapter XIII titled A General Review of the More Modern Theories and Practice of Transfusion. This chapter presents the then current view on blood transfusion.
It is more than interesting that Crile writes in chapter XIII:
“The question as to whether or not blood acts as food when transfused is of interest. Hunter concludes that as it is not immediately destroyed, its nutritive value is not as great as blood taken by mouth. “We find that the loss of weight in starvation is unaffected by the transfusion of blood in whatever quantities and however often repeated, and this is the case even although at death the blood may not only be increased in quantity but be actually richer in quality that in health. This in one of Tchiriew’s experiments in which transfusion had been repeatedly made and in which the weight had steadily fallen from 6.928 to 4.583 kilos, the quantity of blood obtained from the body amounted to about 8.7 per cent of the body weight as compared with the 7 per cent usually obtained in health; and this blood contained 27.11 per cent of solids with 4.21 gms. of nitrogen, as compared with the 21 per cent of solids containing about 3.2 gms. of nitrogen usually found in healthy blood. Similar results were obtained by Panum, by a method, however, not as free from objection as that of Tchiriew, on whose results, as one those of Foster, the greatest reliance can be placed.
“The blood is primarily a carrier, and a given amount of transfused blood would contain a certain amount of nourishment and a certain amount of waste material. When mingled with the blood of the recipient it would add the former to the resources of the recipient to be taken up by then tissues while the waste material would be excreted. The blood corpuscles would perform their natural functions unless there should happen to be hemolytic action, as there sometimes is between similar bloods, and would suffer the same fate as the corpuscles of the recipient. The objection may be raised that transfused blood would not follow this course, but as the weight of evidence is in favor of its acting just as the animal’s own blood acts, the objection does not hold. In short, as borne out theoretically and by experiment, transfused blood is of very little, if of any, value as a food for the recipient. Large quantities of blood plasma would be much more likely to nourish than equal quantities of whole blood, but it is doubtful if enough could be injected to produce measurable results.”—Hemorrhage and Transfusion; An Experimental and Clinical Research, by George W, Crile, New York and London, D. Appleton and Company, 1909, Chapter XIII A General Review of the More Modern Theories and Practice of Transfusion, pp. 271-2
What Does This Mean?
It means Watchtower quoted a source to support its preferential view that blood transfusion “nourishes or sustains the life of the body” when in fact the very source cited says elsewhere that consequentially blood transfusion will not nourish or sustain the life of the body as though food.
Watchtower made deceptive use of Crile's book.