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
Eileen Saxon becomes pink, with an oxygen saturation level (SpO2) of 100%, immediately after she receives the very first Blalock-Taussig Shunt. The BT Shunt is a palliative procedure, and does NOT fully correct the cyanosis; normal post-procedure SpO2 is 80-85%. The cyanosis may be corrected later with another procedure. See more
Where you see risks, I see opportunity.
Referenced in Dead Teenagers
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