Alexander Wiener

wienerDr. Alexander Wiener, a U.S. physician in Brooklyn, NY, was one of the most prominent early researchers in transfusion medicine. He is best known for his work in the Rh blood system, where he and Dr. Karl Landsteiner (already famous for his discovery of the ABO blood groups) were part of the discovery of the RhD antigen in the Rh Blood Group System (though that story had lots of twists and turns and years of subsequent controversy; you can read about it in Dr. Issit’s article in the journal linked here). Dr. Wiener’s contribution to Rh terminology is still apparent, as his nomenclature for the various Rh haplotypes is still in use (you can read all about that and learn the “Wiener terminology” in my blog post, “Rhapsody in Rh“). In addition, he devised the original system of exchange transfusion for treatment of babies affected by hemolytic disease of the newborn and was very active in the use of blood group testing for paternity testing and forensic purposes. As a result of the latter work, he was made an honorary member of the Mystery Writers of America (nice!).

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