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?
Dr. Irving Sorkin, a retired dentist, was instrumental in getting Katie McCabe's article made into a feature film. Dr. Sorkin died of lymphoma on October 18, 2007, at the age of 88. 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 know... in 13 years, Doctor Blalock, I don't recall you ever stopping by our house.
I don't recall ever being invited.
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