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?
A breakthrough that changed the face of medicine. A unique partnership that broke the rules.
Did You Know?
According to a Johns Hopkins Medical Archives website about Blalock, Thomas, Taussig, and the Blue Baby surgeries, Eileen Saxon, the infant depicted in the movie as the first to undergo the procedure, became cyanotic again several months later. She died after another attempt at the surgery. Her experience helped the surgical team determine that the procedure worked best on patients who were over 3 years old. See more
When Reader's Digest publishes a photograph of the first operation, one participant is identified as Dr. Michael DeBakey. Although he was 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