By Lisa Yount
This publication examines the careers of Blalock, a white male health care professional; Taussig, a white lady heart specialist; and Thomas, an African American male laboratory technician; who in 1944 mixed their abilities to create a groundbreaking surgery that not just stored the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids, but additionally made surgeons acutely aware that surgical procedure on dwelling hearts used to be attainable.
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Additional info for Alfred Blalock, Helen Taussig, & Vivien Thomas: Mending Children's Hearts
A few other researchers were obtaining similar results, but none presented the fluid-loss theory with as much supporting evidence as Blalock. The year 1930 was important to Vivien Thomas too, but in a much less pleasant way. For most of the year, he clung to the hope that he would soon be able to return to college and go on to medical school, even though his job with Blalock paid too little to let him add anything to his savings. In November, however, the bank that held his savings failed, taking all his money with it.
If Blalock was going to behave like that, Thomas went on, he would take his pay and seek work elsewhere. indd 21 8/23/11 11:59 AM 22 ALFRED BLALOCK, HELEN TAUSSIG, AND VIVIEN THOMAS Perhaps startled to be answered back in this way—especially by an African American—Blalock apologized and promised to be more careful of his language in the future. He urged Thomas to stay on, and, somewhat reluctantly, Thomas agreed. “Just watch, he’ll do the same thing again,” Sam Waters told Thomas cynically—but for once, Waters was wrong.
She, too, had hoped for an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but only one such prize was earmarked for a woman, and it went to the single female classmate whose grades had outstripped hers. Like Blalock, however, she found a way to remain at Hopkins. She had continued her interest in the heart by working in the hospital’s heart clinic during medical school, and her supervisor there obtained a fellowship in cardiology for her. A year later, she won a two-year internship in pediatrics, the medical specialty that treats children.