June 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm


By Billie Rubin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center

BATS, which stands for British Army Transfusion Service, came to be in the late 1930’s just before WWII started. The purpose of BATS was to bring blood and related supplies to the British Army. They did their best in treating the blood with great care with what blood banking knowledge they had at the time.

From PBS’s Red Gold: The Epic Story of Blood, “The chief function of the British Army Transfusion Service was to supply blood and other fluids, including crystalloid solutions, with equipment for their use, to the entire British Army overseas and in the United Kingdom, and also to supply civilian needs in the areas of the United Kingdom in which it operated. Liquid plasma was used in temperate climates and was safely exported as far as India; it was kept cool but not under refrigeration.”

In England, they had been dabbling in blood banking for several years before WWII and opened half a dozen blood centers around the country during those years.