September 1, 1874|
|Died||April 14, 1940|
|Alma mater||University of Illinois|
Bernard Fantus (September 1, 1874 - April 14, 1940) was a Hungarian American physician. He established the first hospital blood bank in the United States in 1937 at Cook County Hospital, Chicago while he served there as director of the pharmacology and therapeutics department.
Fantus was born in Budapest, Hungary (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ). He gained his MD degree in 1899 from the University of Illinois. From 1934, he was the director of therapeutics at Cook County Hospital. The science and practice of blood transfusions was developing internationally at the time. Small-scale refrigerated storage of whole blood had been used first in World War I (see Oswald Hope Robertson) and this had been developed in Russia into a larger-scale system of blood depots. In the US, hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic certainly used refrigerated storage of blood from 1935. Fantus conducted further experiments in blood storage, culminating in the preservation of blood for up to ten days, and he prepared to establish a “Blood Preservation Laboratory” at the hospital. Crucially, however, he changed its name before launch to “Cook County Hospital Blood Bank”. It opened in March 1937.
Fantus invented the name “blood bank” and put this name into circulation, partly through a landmark article. in the Journal of the American Medical Association in July 1937. It was rapidly adopted by other hospitals.
In May 1933, Fantus joined with others to establish the Humanist movement with the publication of the first Humanist Manifesto.
- His grave is in Forest Park cemetery, Illinois.
- Fantus Health Center, Cook County
- Bernard Fantus Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) to an individual who has made numerous outstanding contributions to the scientific basis and/or clinical practice of blood banking and transfusion medicine during the preceding fifty years. It is a distinguished award that is only made at intervals of five years or more.
- Moore, S.B. A Brief History of the Early Years of Blood Transfusion at the Mayo Clinic: The First Blood Bank in the United States (1935) in Transfusion Medicine Reviews Vol.19 No.3 (July) 2005 pp241-245 accessed at  June 8, 2006
- Sources include – Prashar, A.S. USA holds valuable lesson for Indian blood banks, Chandigarh Tribune, India accessed at  June 8, 2006
- Fantus, B. The therapy of the Cook County Hospital July 10, 1937 Journal of the American Medical Association reprinted 1984;251:647-649  - subscription service
- "Humanist Manifesto I". American Humanist Association. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Bernard Fantus at www.franzosenbuschheritagesociety.org