In the Blood: How Two Outsiders Solved a Centuries-Old Medical Mystery and Took on the US Army

Grand Central. May 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781538709863. $29. SCI
Barber (writer in residence, Wesleyan Univ.; psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine; Citizen Outlaw: One Man’s Journey from Gangleader to Peacekeeper) writes about the remarkable efforts made by Frank Hursey, a quiet engineer with a small business that made oxygen generators. In 1983, Hursey became interested in a mineral that had useful hydrophilic properties called zeolite. Hursey thought it might be useful to treat hemorrhaging patients with since it seemed to absorb water but left platelets and other clotting factors in the body. He teamed up with Bart Gullong, a salesman, and developed a zeolite wound patch that worked astonishingly well to slow bleeding and save lives. The patch’s virtues were spread informally among the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy. When Hursey and Gullong tried to sell the wound patches to the U.S. Army, however, they encountered resistance; the army even tried to ruin their product’s reputation, and Barber’s book details why, somewhat tediously, which makes the narrative a lengthy one. But the outcome of a long and complicated effort to revolutionize trauma treatment is inspiring.
VERDICT This story about determined amateurs will likely be of interest to collections supporting entrepreneurship and personal development.
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