Paul Brand's career in medicine traces back to one dreary night at Connaught Hospital in East London. Hospital orderlies wheeled a beautiful young women into his ward. She had lost much blood in an accident. It had drained from her skin, leaving her an unearthly pale color, and her oxygen-starved brain had shut down into an unconscious mode. The hospital staff lurched into their controlled-panic response to any patient near death. A nurse dashed down a corridor for a blood transfusion bottle while a doctor fumbled with the apparatus to get the transfusion going. They could not detect even the faintest pulse on her cold, limp wrist.
She looked like a wax museum exhibit or a marble statue in a cathedral. Her lips were pale and only a few freckles stood out against her pallor. She did not seem to be breathing, having long before passed through the desperate phase of heaving breathing. Paul Brand was certain she was dead.
The nurse arrived with a bottle of blood, which she buckled into a high metal stand as the doctor punctured the woman's vein with a large needle. They had mounted the bottle high and were using an extra-long tube so that the increase in pressure would push the blood into her body faster. The staff told Paul to keep watch over the emptying bottle as they hurried off for more blood.
Nothing in his memory could compare to the excitement of what happened next. As he nervously held her wrist while the others were gone, suddenly he could feel the faintest press of a pulse. He thought it might be his own pulse. Paul searched again, and it was there, barely perceptible.
The next bottle of blood arrived and was quickly connected. A spot of pink appeared on her cheek, and spread into a beautiful flush. Her lips darkened pink, then red, and her eyelids fluttered lightly and at last parted. She squinted at first, and then looked directly at Paul. To his enormous surprise, she asked for some water. Paul Brand was so amazed he became a missionary doctor and served for years in India and Louisiana.