In 1667, physician Jean-Baptiste Denis transfused calf’s blood into Antoine Mauroy, a madman known to run through the streets naked and screaming. Mauroy died a few days later. Denis was charged with murder—and blood transfusions were outlawed for the next 150 years. Now, evidence has come to light that suggests Mauroy was murdered by scientists who were blood-tranfusion detractors. They were ultimately successful in halting the dangerous, morally questionable practice of blood transfusions.
In Blood Work, Vanderbilt University associate professor Holly Tucker transports readers back to 17th-century France, where Denis’ experiment angered scientists who hoped to perform the first blood transfusions, enraged superstitious conservatives and incited fear in a confused public.
Tucker will explain how she hunted down answers surrounding Mauroy’s death in archives in London, Paris and Rome until she found the smoking gun: a letter written by a lawyer that revealed the true murderers’ identities. She will also examine how the same tensions present in 17th-century French society are alive today in heated debates over stem-cell research.
Holly Tucker: Blood Work @ University of Utah School of Medicine, 75 S. 2000 East, No. 108, 801-587-7170, March 16, noon, free; @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-484-9100, March 16, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com