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?
Dr. Irving Sorkin, a retired Washington, District of Columbia, USA dentist, was instrumental in getting the article by Katie McCabe made into a feature film. He died in Los Angeles, California, USA of lymphoma on 18 October 2007 at the age of 88. See more
While operating on Eileen Saxon, the baby is in supine position. A proper surgical position for (name after that Blalock-Taussig Shunt, or BT Shunt) is left lateral - the baby is positioned on her right side with left side up, elevated over 4-6 intercostal space. See more
Where you see risks, I see opportunity.
Written by Keter Betts
Performed by Keter Betts, Harold Mann, Larry Willis and Jacques Johnson See more