BLOOD TRANSFUSION IN SPAIN
Dr. Reginald Saxton of Reading, England, was one of the first English doctors to help the people of Spain when war broke out. He has been here since August 1936. He worked at first on the Aragon front and early in 1937 transferred with other members of the British Medical Unit to the Madrid front. Here he put in long days of work through all the great battles of the war. Jarama, Guadalajara and Brunete are names that he will always remember. Later he was seen on the Belchite front and then in the cold autumn of 1937 he was back on the Aragon front fighting the typhoid epidemic. Then came Teruel and the freezing winter that led us to this year. No soldier, doctor, driver, nurse or other worker will ever forget how 1938 came in Spain. The new year was blown in with blizzard and frost, but with great hope for the antifascist fight. For the Spanish People's Army was proving that it could endure and it could conquer. Whether it was the flaming heat at Brunete or the bitter cold of Teruel, Dr. Saxton stayed at his post at the front. Many a soldier owes his life to the work of this tall, fair, quiet Englishman whose devotion to his work has won the respect of all.
Dr. Saxton has given much of his time here to Blood Transfusion. For this reason he is nearly always to be found at front line hospitals where blood transfusions are constantly needed. He has had a Spanish assistant for many months. When Angel was given a rest after a long and tiring period at the front another Spaniard gladly took his place, for Dr. Saxton is very popular with our Spanish comrades. I have watched Angel working hour after hour through aerial bombardments, when the fascists were flinging grenades at the walls of the hospital, far into the night when 'triage' was full, cleaning the alternate sets of instruments so that Dr. Saxton might always be ready when called to the gravely wounded.
His laboratory assistant, a young American, Henry Rubin, is a tireless worker. Both he and the Spanish assistant Paco (who is also the driver) have learned blood transfusion and not only assist in the work but also carry on in Dr. Saxton's absence.
During periods of quiet at the front Dr. Saxton goes to a base hospital where he prepares his travelling van for the next attack. He has recently been working with the Popular Front of the nearby town to find blood donors. Anyone from the town is invited to call at the hospital to have his or her blood tested. Particulars are recorded and the prospective donor holds himself ready to be called upon at any time that Dr. Saxton should require him. Dr. Saxton recently called upon the first donor, a young girl of 19. The patient she was called upon to help, a man with an amputated leg, is now doing very well. This has become known in the town, and a very good response is expected to Dr. Saxton's appeal for donors.
In addition, the large blood transfusion laboratories of Barcelona send sealed ampoules of blood for the van to carry to the front in its refrigerator. But when at the front he calls upon the personnel of the hospital to give their blood as well. I have often seen the nurses give during an attack. They regard it as part of their duty just like being on the wards or in the operating rooms.