Alfred Blalock (1899-1964), a cardiologist (therefore, self-confident to the point of arrogance), leaves Vanderbilt for Johns Hopkins taking with him his lab technician, Vivien Thomas (1910-1985). Thomas, an African-American without a college degree, is a gifted mechanic and tool-maker with hands splendidly adept at surgery. In 1941, Blalock and Thomas take on the challenge of blue babies and invent bypass surgery. After trials on dogs, their first patient is baby Eileen, sure to die without the surgery. In defiance of custom and Jim Crow, Blalock brings Thomas into the surgery to advise him, but when Life Magazine and kudos come, Thomas is excluded. Will he receive his due? Written by
A breakthrough that changed the face of medicine. A unique partnership that broke the rules.
Did You Know?
Based in part on the magazine article "Like Something The Lord Made" by Katie McCabe. It was published in the Washingtonian and earned McCabe the 1990 National Magazine Feature Writing Award. See more
The Reader's Digest published a photograph of that first operation, and one of the participants was identified as Dr. Michael DeBakey. Although a professor at Tulane, he was on leave as a consultant to the Surgeon General in Washington. See more
You can begin the incision.
I'm not ready for that.
If I say you're ready, you're ready.
I'll mark out the line. And you cut along it. Just like you did for your old Daddy.
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Written by Hugh Prince
(as Hughie Prince) and Don Raye
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises See more