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Blood & Blood Types

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. SpockSpock -  On the sci-fi adventure STAR TREK/NBC/1966-69 Vulcan Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) had a different blood color that the rest of his human crew on the starship Enterprise. What color is Spock's blood? It is green because the oxidizing agent in Vulcan blood is copper, not iron, as it is in humans. Copper oxide (verdigris) gave Spock's blood its blue-green hue.

We discovered this on episode "Journey to Babel" when Spock's Vulcan father, Ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard) suffers a heart attack that requires surgery and a life-giving transfusion of T- Negative blood from Spock.

Initially, Spock refuses to donate blood because a knife attack had put Captain Kirk (William Shatner) out of action and put Spock in command of the ship. Logic dictated his responsibility to command the Enterprise outweighed taking time out from a crisis to give his father blood.

In the end, he gave the blood because Kirk faked recovery and returned to the bridge, thus freeing Spock to go to the sickbay and assist in his father's surgery.

In the movie Star Trek III: Search for Spock (1984), Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley) mentions Spock blood after Spock surreptitiously performed a Vulcan mind-meld on the Doctor and deposited his "Katra" or life-force inside McCoy's brain. Upon hearing the facts of the matter McCoy exclaimed "That green-blooded son of a bitch! It's his revenge for all the arguments he lost."

TRIVIA NOTE: In June 2007, the medical journal The Lancet reported a case from October 2005 of a 42-year-old man who needed surgery in both lower legs after falling asleep in a kneeling position. His condition necessitated "urgent fasciotomies, limb-saving procedures which involve making surgical incisions to relieve pressure and swelling".

While inserting an arterial catheter in the man's wrist artery, surgeons noticed a discharge of dark greenish-black blood oozing from their patient. Could he be Vulcan? Not really. The man had taken large doses of an anti-migraine drug named sumatriptan. This high in sulphur drug was responsible for changing the color from red to green.

According to Dr Alana Flexman of St Paul's Hospital in Vancouver "The patient recovered uneventfully, and stopped taking sumatriptan after discharge. When seen five weeks after his last dose, he was found to have no sulfhaemoglobin in his blood."

Numerous news outlets covered the story and freely associated the man's green blood with Star Trek's Vulcan Mr. Spock.

Cited as "Dark Green Blood in the Operating Theatre" The Lancet Volume 369 Issue: 9577 (June 9 - 15 2007) p. 1972. Flexman, Alana M; Del Vicario, Giuseppe; Schwarz, Stephan KW.

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