Doctor Norman Miles Guiou: Pioneering Blood Transfusions for Wounded Soldiers

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

Blood Transfusion Kit: Canadian War Museum 19801092-003

This portable transfusion kit belonged to Canadian Army Medical Corps doctor Norman Miles Guiou, a pioneer of blood transfusion during the First World War. Guiou’s simple techniques helped save the lives of wounded soldiers who otherwise would have died from blood loss and shock.

Guiou transfused blood directly from donors to wounded men using tubing or a syringe. This meant that the transfusion could take place at advanced dressing stations close to the front lines, allowing the injured to receive blood sooner and reducing their risk of dying on the way to specialized care units further behind the lines.

Guiou’s transfusions were not always successful, but they marked an important evolution in combat surgery.

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Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history and one of the world’s most respected museums for the study and understanding of armed conflict.

The Museum traces its origins back to 1880, when it consisted primarily of a collection of militia artifacts. The Museum opened at its new location on the LeBreton Flats site in downtown Ottawa on May 8, 2005. Its opening not only marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe (V-E Day) but also the 125th anniversary of the Museum itself. Since its opening in 2005, the Museum has welcomed approximately 500,000 visitors every year.