In 1969, medical researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center were referred an unusual patient: a local California woman who had given birth to a healthy baby, but who kept hemorrhaging dangerous amounts of blood.
While doctors at Stanford University Hospital gave the hemorrhage patient a blood transfusion, engineers at the space agency brainstormed solutions to stop the bleeding. They decided to try an anti-gravity suit—typically used to keep astronauts from blacking out during extreme acceleration by squeezing the arms and legs to push blood back towards the head—to apply external pressure to the woman’s lower body and drive blood upward. It was a success, and the woman’s life was saved.
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