Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


Conrad R. Lam


Since 1939, the use of heparin has become widespread in the prevention of postoperative thrombosis and embolism and is the basis for modern open-heart surgery. What is not generally known is the story of Jay McLean, the second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins who is given credit for the original discovery. McLean's first scientific publication concerning the use of heparin does not contain the word "heparin," and not until 25 years later did McLean publish a short paper about heparin. Some personal letters and other research have indicated a checkered career. He was trained as a surgeon in the Halsted school but was practicing therapeutic radiology when he died in Savannah in 1957.