History of Phlebotomy
Humans have been bloodletting for thousands of years. It began with the Egyptians and spread to the Greeks and Romans before reaching Asia and Europe.
It was considered controversial because doctors sometimes drew very large amounts of blood. This was the case with George Washington, the first president of the United States. In 1799, after being outside in snowy weather, he became ill and developed a fever. To treat him, his doctors drained about 40% of his blood. He died the next night.
Over time, bloodletting was proved to be an ineffective and, in some cases, dangerous treatment. By the end of the 19th century, it wasn’t as common as it once was.
Today, phlebotomy in Western culture is used for medical testing and to treat only a few specific blood diseases.