Nursing Book Club
Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine and Mysteries of Blood by Rose George
A bloody good read!
If you like your science books tempered with a healthy dose of eye-rolling, you will certainly enjoy Nine Pints. Author Rose George, an English freelance journalist, has taken a wide-ranging, witty deep dive into her subject: human blood and the industries it has spawned.
George begins with an overview of blood itself. Unless you’ve graduated recently, you could probably use a refresher, and as a nonmedical person, George is adept at making the science understandable. By the end of the chapter, the many types of cells and their function will have all come back to you.
Next, she expands on the many uses of blood. She begins with bloodletting and blood banks, presenting much interesting history of how the techniques for blood storage and processing were developed, the costs involved and how the public has been encouraged to voluntarily give away a priceless commodity. I knew that blood could expire, but had no idea that millions of dollars worth is destroyed when it “out-dates,” nor did I know what elaborate steps blood banks have taken to prevent this.
The author’s interest in blood goes well beyond the merely scientific to include a whole range of social affairs. An entire chapter is devoted to the menstrual habits of Indian and Pakistani women, and refers to a movie I’d just seen — 2018’s Pad Man, available on Netflix. While in the U.S. we argue about whether or not tampons should be taxed as luxury items, in some parts of Pakistan, they still argue about whether or not menstruating women can sleep in the house or should take their chances in a cave outside for five days.