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Something the Lord Made (TV Movie 2004) - Plot Summary Poster

(2004 TV Movie)

Plot Summary

  • 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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>
  • Tells the story of the extraordinary 34-year partnership which begins in Depression Era Nashville in 1930, when Blalock hires Thomas as an assistant in his Vanderbilt University lab, expecting him merely to perform janitorial work. But Thomas' remarkable manual dexterity and scientific acumen shatter Blalock's expectations, and Thomas rapidly becomes indispensable as a research partner to Blalock in his first daring forays into heart surgery. The film traces the groundbreaking work the two men undertake when they move in 1941 from Vanderbilt to Johns Hopkins, an institution where the only black employees are janitors and where Thomas must enter by the back door. Together, they boldly attack the devastating heart problem of Tetralogy of Fallot, also known as Blue Baby Syndrome, and in so doing they open the field of heart surgery. The film dramatizes their race to save dying Blue Babies against the background of a Jim Crow (Racial Segregation) America, illuminating the nuanced and complex relationship the two sustain. Thomas earns Blalock's unalloyed respect, with Blalock praising the results of Thomas' surgical skill as being "like something the Lord made", and insisting that Thomas coach him through the first Blue Baby surgery over the protests of Hopkins administrators.

    - Written by anonymous

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