Podcast 670: Operation Tat-Type - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 670: Operation Tat-Type

Contributor:  Dave Rosenberg, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • In 1951, Operation Tat-Type began tattooing adults with their blood type in an effort to prepare for rapid transfusions in the time of the Cold War and the Korean War
  • School children in northern Indiana and areas in Utah were tattooed with their blood type beginning in 1952 under the same operation
  • Based on tattoos given to SS officers during WWII
  • This wasn’t to identify who needed what blood but rather to identify who could give what blood in the event of a massive attack


Wolf EK, Laumann AE. The use of blood-type tattoos during the Cold War. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;58(3):472-476. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2007.11.019

Summarized by John Spartz, MS3 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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