History of Medicine

The Leo J. McCarthy, MD, History of Medicine Room contains the History of Medicine special collection. This collection consists of approximately 3,500 books, including significant books on the American Revolutionary War and early American surgery. Browse an abbreviated catalog of the collection.

The Collection

The Ruth Lilly Medical Library History of Medicine Special Collection, though modest in its approximately 3500 items, includes several books of significant historical value: American Revolutionary War, early American surgery, editions of Renaissance medicine and European science, anatomical and medical plates of quality, colored botanicals, uncommon signatures by leading practitioners and, correspondence related to the unfortunate outcomes of mid-19th century tuberculosis. Items in this collection considered important assets to scholarship and furthering an understanding of the history of medicine, as printed, practiced and experienced, including books published as early as 1542. The collection contains bindings in a variety of materials and styles, a full range of sizes and quality, printed in Latin, English, German, and French.

The opportunities for study and research are diverse; the material is well suited for deeper mapping, can act as an enhancement to the scientific element of medical practice. To handle a first edition of America’s first systematic text on surgery or, to examine the highest quality reproductions of Vesalius prints no longer available increases one’s appreciation, can be said to induce shivers of awe and inspiration. In an ever-increasing age of technological development, steeping oneself in an object from a previous century, signed by an important figure, can be a touchstone to our cultural heritage. Some of the more interesting and finer objects can be found in the abbreviated catalog of the collection.

Visit the collection on the third floor of the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, room 307. After a generous gift in May of 2015, the room was named for Leo J. McCarthy, MD. The room is open for study Monday through Friday, 10 am until 2 pm; special hours may be scheduled by emailing medlref@iu.edu.


In medicine is a desire to always look forward, a push to constantly advance. To do so, casting a glance back is invaluable. For Leo J. McCarthy, MD, FRCP (Edin/Ire), this is what fuels a passion for the history of medicine. In May 2015, McCarthy made a generous gift to establish an endowed lectureship on the history of medicine at IU School of Medicine. The lectureship brings experts to this school to address topics that enlighten and educate students and faculty and instills an awareness of the evolution of their profession. The IU School of Medicine and the Ruth Lilly Medical Library deeply appreciate McCarthy’s vision, passion and support to make this lectureship possible now and in the future.

History of Transfusion Medicine

The origins of blood transfusion are lost in the myths of antiquity, but the existence of the A and B antigens in nature provide the basis for crucial serologic testing. Leeching was known to the ancient Egyptians in 3000 BC and was mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit in 1500 BC as noted by Alexander the Great. It was Galen (131 AD -ca 201 AD), the physician to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who popularized the concept of blood circulation which was subsequently disproven by William Harvey, 1628 AD. Galen popularized the humoral theory which, also was embraced by Hippocrates (470 BC-410 BC) but probably originated with Empedocles or Pythagoras. Subsequently bloodletting by cupping, phlegms and barber-surgeons attempted to release “bad blood” (bad humors) and thus reestablish the correct humoral balance which was equated with good health.

The World Wars created an extraordinary demand for blood transfusion, and the Allied Forces were aided by a well-organized blood supply. Edwin Cohn, MD, and Charles Drew, MD, revolutionized the procurement and distribution of plasma and blood respectively. The technique of drawing and safely transfusing blood had given rise to establishing blood centers, hospital transfusion services, solid organ transplantation, bone marrow transplantation, frozen blood, paternity testing, plasma fractionalization, ameliorating Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn (RH disease), autosalvage, component therapy, viral testing (hepatitis B and C, HIV), apheresis, and effective therapies for hemophilia, etc. Therefore from its humble, obscure roots of origins, the tree of transfusion medicine continues to grow and blossom and the historical timeline expands further and further into the future increasing applications with relevance to modern medicine.

Selected Publications

For a complete listing of publications by Leo McCarthy, MD, on blood transfusion medicine, refer to his Curriculum Vitae

McCarthy, L. J., Wahle, W. M., Moosey, N. A. (1975). Carcinosarcoma of the urinary bladder–a case report. Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association, 68(8), 722-724. PMID 1141694

McCarthy, L. J., Aguilar, J. C. (1977). Fatal benign phenytoin hypersensitivity. Lancet, 2(8044), 932. PMID 72273

McCarthy, L. J., Aguilar, J. C., Ransburg, R. (1979). Fatal benign phenytoin lymphadenopathy. Archives of Internal Medicine, 139(3), 367-368. PMID 426584

Nielsen, R. L., Kohler, R. B., Chin, W., McCarthy, L. J., Luft, F. C. (1979). The use of exchange transfusions: a potentially useful adjunct in the treatment of fulminant falciparum malaria. American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 277(3), 325-329. PMID 377965

Hull, M. T., Priest, J. B., Broadie, T. A., Ransburg, R. C., McCarthy, L. J. (1981). Glycogen-rich clear cell carcinoma of the breast: A light and electron microscopic study. Cancer, 48(9), 2003-2009. PMID 6271388

McCarthy, L. J., Parker, C. (1981). Positive antiglobulin tests in a boy struck by lightning. New England Journal of Medicine, 305(5), 283. PMID 7242620

Thompson, H. W., McCarthy, L. J. (1983). Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Potential benefit of splenectomy after plasma exchange. Archives of Internal Medicine, 143(11), 2117-2119. PMID 6685464

McCarthy, L. J., Korn, B. (1984). A problem in communication. Transfusion, 24(2), 184. PMID 6369657

McCarthy, L. J. (1985). Leukostasis thrombi. JAMA, 254</em>(5), 613. PMID 4009895 

McCarthy, L. J., Lister, K. (1988). Treatment of aspirin overdose. Journal of Clinical Apheresis, 4(1), 50. PMID 3391989 

English, D., Lamberson, R., Graves, V., Akard, L. P., McCarthy, L. J., Jansen, J. (1989). Semiautomated processing of bone marrow grafts for transplantation. Transfusion, 29(1), 12-16. PMID 2643209

McCarthy, L. J. (1989). Fresh frozen plasma: past, present and future. Indiana Medicine, 82(12), 968-970. PMID 2600417.

Friend, P. J., McCarthy, L. J., Filo, R. S., Leapman, S. B., Pescovitz, M. D., Lumeng, L., et al. (1990). Transmission of idiopathic (autoimmune) thrombocytopenic purpura by liver transplantation. New England Journal of Medicine, 323(12), 807-811. PMID 2392133

McCarthy, L., Filo, R., Leapman, S., Thomalla, J. V. (1990). Treatment of suspected humorally mediated renal allograft dysfunction by plasma exchange. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research, 337, 269-270. PMID 2352985.

McCarthy, L., Kotylo, P., &amp; Lister, K. (1990). Plasma exchange and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, the Indiana University Medical Center experience. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research, 337, 115-117. PMID 2352970.

McCarthy, L. J. (1990). Plasmapheresis–the Indiana connection. Transfusion Science, 11(2), 161-163. PMID 10160879.

McCarthy, L. J., Ball, M. J., Hsueh, Y. (1990). Finally … the hepatitis C virus. Indiana Medicine, 83(11), 825. PMID 2175759

van Besien, K., Nichols, C. R., Tricot, G., Langefeld, C., Miller, M. E., Akard, L., . . . et al. (1990). Characteristics of engraftment after repeated autologous bone marrow transplantation. Experimental Hematology, 18(7), 785-788. PMID 2165911

McCarthy, L. J., Graves, V. L., Eigen, H., McGuire, W. A. (1991). Platelet apheresis for extreme thrombocytosis in an 11-year-old girl with CML. Transfusion Medicine, 1(3), 187-189. PMID 9259847 

McCarthy, L. J., Hsueh, Y., Danielson, C., Thelia, A. (1991). Hepatitis C. Indiana Medicine, 84(11), 812. PMID 1761856 

Graves, V., Gabig, T., McCarthy, L., Strour, E. F., Leemhuis, T., &amp; English, D. (1992). Simultaneous mobilization of Mac-1 (CD11b/CD18) and formyl peptide chemoattractant receptors in human neutrophils. [Erratum appears in Blood 1993 Mar 15;81(6):1668]. Blood, 80(3), 776-787. PMID 1322204

Graves, V. L., Danielson, C. F., Broun, E. R., Tricot, G., &amp; McCarthy, L. J. (1992). Expanding role of the bone marrow processing laboratory. Progress in Clinical Biological Research, 377, 373-378. PMID 1438433

McCarthy, L. J. (1992). Directed donors – Not then and not now! [3]. Transfusion, 32(3), 292.

McCarthy, L. J. (1992). Blood shortage. Indiana Medicine, 85(1), 11. PMID 1740616 

Graves, V., Gabig, T., McCarthy, L., Strour, E. F., Leemhuis, T., &amp; English, D. (1993). Erratum: Simultaneous mobilization of mac-1 (CD11b/CD18) and formyl- peptide chemoattractant receptors in human neutrophils (Blood (August 1, 1992) 80:3 (776-787)). Blood, 81(6), 1668.

Henley, J. D., Danielson, C. F., Rothenberger, S. S., Hsueh, Y., Thelia, A., &amp; McCarthy, L. J. (1993). Kasabach-Merritt syndrome with profound platelet support. American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 99 (5), 628-630. PMID 8493954

McCarthy, L. J., Cotton, J., Danielson, C., Graves, V., Bergstein, J. (1994). Goodpasture’s syndrome in childhood: treatment with plasmapheresis and immunosuppression. Journal of Clinical Apheresis, 9(2), 116-119. PMID 7798157 

McCarthy, L. J., Culbertson, C. G. (1994). Blood transfusion at the Indiana University Medical Center. Indiana Medicine, 87(2), 112-113. PMID 8176193 

Slowman, S., Danielson, C., Graves, V., Kotylo, P., Broun, R., &amp; McCarthy, L. (1994). Administration of GM-/G-CSF prior to bone marrow harvest increases collection of CD34+ cells. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research, 389, 363-369. PMID 7535443

Danielson, C. F., Waldo, C. T., Rothenberger, S. S., Fitzgerald, J. F., Pescovitz, M. D., Friend, P. J., McCarthy, L. J. (1995). Blood usage for liver transplantation in infants and children. Laboratory Medicine, 26(8), 533-536.

McCarthy, L. J. (1995). The first use of a centrifuge to detect red cell agglutination. Transfusion, 35(7), 617. PMID 7631397 

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F., Cornetta, K., Srour, E. F., &amp; Broun, E. R. (1995). Autologous bone marrow transplantation. Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 32(1), 67-119. PMID 7748468

Danielson, C. F., Filo, R. S., O’Donnell, J. A., McCarthy, L. J. (1996). Institutional variation in hemotherapy for solid organ transplantation.[Erratum appears in Transfusion 1996 Aug;36(8):764]. Transfusion, 36(3), 263-267. PMID 8604514

Danielson, D. V. M., Filo, R. S., O’Donnell, J. A., McCarthy, L. J. (1996). Erratum: Institutional variation in hemotherapy for solid organ transplantation (Transfusion (1996) 36 (263-267)). Transfusion, 36(8), 764.

Haidar, J. H., Neiman, R. S., Orazi, A., Albitar, M., McCarthy, L. J., Heerema, N. (1996). mdm-2 oncoprotein expression associated with deletion of the long arm of chromosome 12 in a case of mantle cell lymphoma with blastoid transformation [corrected].[Erratum appears in Mod Pathol 1996 Jul;9(7):803]. Modern Pathology, 9(4), 355-359. PMID 8729971

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C., Orazi, A., Skipworth, E., Jackson, L., Graves, V., … Cornetta, K. (1996). Platelet loss during peripheral blood progenitor cell collections. Transfusion Science, 17(3), 475. PMID 10163557

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C., Pugh, M., Skipworth, E., &amp; Capello, W. (1997). Should cardiac disease prevent autologous blood donation? Transfusion Science, 18(1), 81-83. PMID 10174296

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F., &amp; Rothenberger, S. S. (1997). Indications for emergency apheresis procedures. Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 34(6), 573-610. PMID 9439885

Porcu, P., Danielson, C. F., Orazi, A., Heerema, N. A., Gabig, T. G., &amp; McCarthy, L. J. (1997). Therapeutic leukapheresis in hyperleucocytic leukaemias: lack of correlation between degree of cytoreduction and early mortality rate. British Journal of Haematology, 98(2), 433-436. PMID 9266944

Robertson, P. B., Danielson, C. F., &amp; McCarthy, L. J. (1997). Unexpected hemoglobin electrophoresis results following red cell exchange in a sickle cell anemia patient with acute chest syndrome. Transfusion Science, 18(2), 195-198. PMID 10174684 

Rothenberger, S. S., McCarthy, L. J. (1997). Neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia: From prediction to prevention. Laboratory Medicine, 28(9), 592-596.

Danielson, C. F., McCarthy, L. J., Parker, C. (1998). Possible urticarial reaction to new ultra-filtered Rho immune globulin. Vox Sanguinis, 75(2), 155. PMID 9867692

McCarthy, L., Smith, F. O., Emanuel, D., Orazi, A., Danielson, C., Thompson, C., … Kreissman, S. (1998). Platelet depletion during pediatric peripheral blood progenitor cell (PBPC) harvesting. Transfusion Science, 19(1), 61.

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F., Skipworth, E. M., &amp; Thompson, C. F. (1998). Hypocalcemia secondary to citrate toxicity. <em>Therapeutic Apheresis, 2(3), 249. PMID 10227780 

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F. M., Skipworth, E. M., Thompson, C. F. (1998). Letter to the editor. Therapeutic Apheresis, 2(3), 249.

McCarthy, L. J., Gregory, T. (1998). Blood transfusion and the risks of infectious disease. Patient Care, 32(16), 112-115.

McCarthy, L. J., Porcu, P., Fausel, C. A., Sweeney, C. J., &amp; Danielson, C. F. (1998). Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and simvastatin. Lancet, 352(9136), 1284-1285. PMID 9788466 

Rao Koduri, P., McCarthy, L. (1998). Simvastatin and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (multiple letters) [5]. Lancet, 352(9145), 2020. PMID 9872276

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C., Weidner, J., Miraglia, C. (1999). Letter to the editor [2]. Therapeutic Apheresis, 3(4), 348-349. PMID 10608734

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C., Weidner, J., Miraglia, C. (1999). Chronic severe thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Therapeutic Apheresis, 3(4), 348-349. PMID 10608734

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F., Fernandez, C., Skipworth, E., Limiac, C. A., Prahlow, T., &amp; Goldman, J. (1999). Intensive plasma exchange for severe autoimmune hemolytic anemia in a four-month-old infant. Journal of Clinical Apheresis, 14(4), 190-192. PMID 10611631

Bennett, C. L., Connors, J. M., Carwile, J. M., Moake, J. L., Bell, W. R., Tarantolo, S. R., … Tsai, H. M. (2000). Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura associated with clopidogrel. New England Journal of Medicine, 342(24), 1773-1777. PMID 10852999 

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C., Skipworth, E., Fernandez, C., Albright, E., Orazi, A., &amp; Porcu, P. (2000). Are nucleated red cells significant in patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura? Therapeutic Apheresis, 4(1), 68. PMID 10728508 

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F., Rothenberger, S. S., Parker, C., Weidner, J., Miraglia, C., … Waxman, D. (2000). Completely converting a blood service region to the use of safer plasma. Transfusion, 40(10), 1264-1267. PMID 11061866

McCarthy, L. J., Vattuone, J., Weidner, J., Skipworth, E., Fernandez, C., Jackson, L., . . . Danielson, C. F. (2000). Do automated red cell exchanges relieve priapism in patients with sickle cell anemia? Therapeutic Apheresis, 4(3), 256-258. PMID 10910030 

Porcu, P., Cripe, L. D., Ng, E. W., Bhatia, S., Danielson, C. M., Orazi, A.,McCarthy, L. J. (2000). Hyperleukocytic leukemias and leukostasis: a review of pathophysiology, clinical presentation and management. Leukemia and Lymphoma, 39(1-2), 1-18. PMID 10975379 

Thurer, R. L., Luban, N. L., AuBuchon, J. P., Silver, H., McCarthy, L. J., Dzik, S., … Slichter, S. J. (2000). Universal WBC reduction. Transfusion, 40(6), 751-752. PMID 10864999

McCarthy, L., Eichelberger, L., Skipworth, E., Danielson, C. (2002). Erythromelalgia due to essential thrombocythemia. Transfusion, 42(10), 1245. PMID 12423504 

McCarthy, L. J. (2002). Therapeutic apheresis: current perspectives. Therapeutic Apheresis, 6(1), 1. PMID 11886569 

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F. M., Skipworth, E. M., Peters, S. L., Miraglia, C. C., Antony, A. C. (2002). Myocardial infarction/injury is relatively common at presentation of acute thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura: the Indiana University experience. Therapeutic Apheresis, 6(1), 2-4. PMID 11886570

McCarthy, L. J., Dzik, W. (2002). Immune thrombocytopenic purpura. New England Journal of Medicine, 347(6), 449-450; author reply 449-450. PMID 12168645

McCarthy, L. J., Houseworth, J., Danielson, C. (2002). Transfusion medicine illustrated. White out: extreme leukocytosis treated with WBC reduction. Transfusion, 42(6), 663. PMID 12147014

Danielson, C., Skipworth, E., Jackson, L., Houseworth, J.,McCarthy, L. (2003). Transfusion medicine illustrated: an unusual plasmapheresis product. Transfusion, 43(4), 421. PMID 12662271

Gastineau, D. A., Davis, M. D., McCarthy, L. J. (2003). Erroneous erythromelalgia (multiple letters). Transfusion, 43(9), 1337. <a PMID 12919439

McCarthy, L. J. (2003). The challenge of evidence-based medicine for apheresis. Therapeutic Apheresis &amp; Dialysis: Official Peer-Reviewed Journal of the International Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy, 7(2), 153-154. PMID 12918936 

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F. M., Miraglia, C., Waxman, D. (2003). Platelet transfusion and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Transfusion, 43(6), 829; author reply 829-830. PMID 1275753

Nightingale, S., Wanamaker, V., Silverman, B., McCurdy, P., McMurtry, L., Quarles, P., …Satcher, D. (2003). Use of sentinel sites for daily monitoring of the US blood supply. Transfusion, 43(3), 364-372.  PMID 12675723 

Sarker, A., An, C., Davis, M., Praprotnik, D., McCarthy, L. J., Orazi, A. (2003). Inflammatory pseudotumor of the spleen in a 6-year-old child: a clinicopathologic study. Archives of pathology and laboratory medicine, 127(3), e127-130. PMID 12653599 

Dlott, J. S., Danielson, C. F. M., Blue-Hnidy, D. E., &amp; McCarthy, L. J. (2004). Drug-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome: a concise review. Therapeutic Apheresis &amp; Dialysis: Official Peer-Reviewed Journal of the International Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy, 8(2), 102-111. PMID 15255125

McCarthy, L., Orazi, A., Miraglia, C., Waxman, D., Skipworth, E., Danielson, C. (2004). What are appropriate initial and salvage therapies for patients with thrombotic thrombocyopenic purpura (TTP)? Acta Medica (Hradec Kralove), 47(1), 59-60; discussion 61. PMID 15168884

McCarthy, L. J. (2004). Evidence-based medicine for apheresis: an ongoing challenge. Therapeutic Apheresis and Dialysis: Official Peer-Reviewed Journal of the International Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy, 8(2), 112-123. PMID 15255126

McCarthy, L. J. (2004). Thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura: an update. Therapeutic Apheresis &amp; Dialysis: Official Peer-Reviewed Journal of the International Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy, 8(2), 75. PMID 15255119

McCarthy, L. J., Dlott, J. S., Orazi, A., Waxman, D., Miraglia, C. C.,  Danielson, C. F. M. (2004). Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura: yesterday, today, tomorrow. Therapeutic Apheresis &amp; Dialysis: Official Peer-Reviewed Journal of the International Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy, 8(2), 80-86. PMID 15255121 

Houseworth, J. L., Parks, J. A., Miguel, E. A., McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C. F. M. (2005). Transfusion medicine illustrated. Iatrogenic green plasma. Transfusion, 45(7), 1047. PMID 15987344 

McCarthy, L. J., Skipworth, E., Jackson, L., Nord, A., McCormick, N., Thomas, A., Danielson, C. F. (2005). Transfusion medicine illustrated: muddy plasma. Transfusion, 45(6), 825. PMID 15934977

Danielson, C., Houseworth, J., Skipworth, E., Smith, D., McCarthy, L., &amp; Nanagas, K. (2006). Arsine toxicity treated with red blood cell and plasma exchanges. Transfusion, 46(9), 1576-1579. PMID 16965586

McCarthy, L. J. (2006). The experience of treating patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura with solvent detergent plasma. British Journal of Haematology, 133(1), 107; author reply 108. PMID 16512839

McCarthy, L. J., Danielson, C., Houseworth, J., Graves, V., Jackson, L., Nord, A., . . .Smith, D. (2006). Transfusion medicine illustrated. Black plasma resulting from inhalation of arsine gas. Transfusion, 46(8), 1267. PMID 16934056

McCarthy, L. J., Graves, V. L., Skipworth, E. (2006). Reply [4]. Transfusion, 46(6), 1060-1061. PMID 16734828 

McCarthy, L. J., Hawley, D. A. (2006). Marrow emboli in acute chest syndrome: Artifact or etiology?  Transfusion, 46(10), 1657-1658. PMID 17002619

McCarthy, L. J., Hawley, D. A. (2006). Transfusion medicine illustrated. Marrow emboli in acute chest syndrome: artifact or etiology? Transfusion, 46(10), 1657-1658. PMID 17002619

McCarthy, L. J. (2007). How do I manage a blood shortage in a transfusion service? Transfusion, 47(5), 760-762. PMID 17465938 

Cruz, J., Skipworth, E., Blue, D., Waxman, D., McCarthy, L., Smith, D. (2008). Transfusion-related acute lung injury: a thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura treatment-associated case report and concise review. Journal of Clinical Apheresis, 23(2), 96-103. PMID 18306280

Blue, D., Graves, V., McCarthy, L., Cruz, J., Gregurek, S., Smith, D. (2009). Fatal transfusion-transmitted Babesia microti in the Midwest. Transfusion, 49(1), 8. PMID 18694463

Hawley, D. A., McCarthy, L. J. (2009). Sickle cell disease: two fatalities due to bone marrow emboli in patients with acute chest syndrome. American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 30(1), 69-71. PMID 19237860 

Okroi, M., McCarthy, L. J. (2010). The original blood group pioneers: the Hirszfelds. Transfusion Medicine Reviews, 24(3), 244-246. PMID 20656191 

McCarthy, L. J. (2012). My experiences with apheresis. Therapeutic Apheresis &amp; Dialysis: Official Peer-Reviewed Journal of the International Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy, 16(3), 203-204. PMID 22607561 

About the Donor

Leo J McCarthy, MD, Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, was the Director of Transfusion Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine for three decades. In 1991, he became a Fellow in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, which was established in 1654, and in 1994 he became a fellow in the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Dr. McCarthy created and endowed the annual Leo J. McCarthy, MD Lectureship in Transfusion Medicine in 1997 at IU School of Medicine, where he also established an accredited fellowship in Transfusion Medicine in collaboration with the Indiana Blood Center. At the 1997 Indiana Association of Blood Banks he received the Victor H. Muller Award to acknowledge his contributions to transfusion medicine, blood banking, and transfusion services.

In 2000 Dr. McCarthy became an alumnus member of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Medical Honor Society Nebraska Chapter. He was honored in 2001 with the IUPUI campus-wide Glenn W. Irwin, JR, MD Excellence Recognition Award. In 2002 he received the John Elliot Memorial Award that recognizes an individual for outstanding service to the American Association of Blood Banks, an international not-for-profit association dedicated to the advancement of science and the practice of transfusion medicine. One year later in recognition of his mastery of and passion for transfusion medicine, he became a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest award by the Governor.

Dr. McCarthy retired in 2003 but has remained actively involved in his lectureship and other presentations. In 2007, he was an invited speaker and Educational Chair at the 18th Regional Congress of the ISBT, Asia in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he presented an update on evidence-based transfusion medicine. As part of that presentation, he included an original graphic on “The Origins of Evidence Based Medicine” (graphic updated June 2013) that was also part of a subsequently published paper (ISBT Science Series 2007; 2(2):35-40).

In April 2013, he was the guest speaker at the University of Nebraska’s annual Richard B. Davis History of Medicine Lecture where he presented “A Brief and Necessarily Incomplete Overview of Blood Transfusion Throughout the Ages.