By Lisa Yount
This ebook examines the careers of Blalock, a white male health professional; Taussig, a white woman heart specialist; and Thomas, an African American male laboratory technician; who in 1944 mixed their abilities to create a groundbreaking surgery that not just kept the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids, but in addition made surgeons acutely aware that surgical procedure on residing hearts was once attainable.
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Extra info for Alfred Blalock, Helen Taussig, & Vivien Thomas: Mending Children's Hearts
The school’s dean informed her that she could take courses there, but she would never be allowed to earn a degree. ” Taussig asked him angrily. “No one, I hope,” replied the dean. “Dr. Rosen, I will not be the first to disappoint you,” said Taussig, marching out of the room. “Then and there, I went back and told my father that I was going to study medicine,” she recalled in an interview published in Today’s Health in August 1968. In spite of her sharp words to the dean, Taussig decided that taking a course or two at Harvard Medical School might be a good idea.
Once—plus a little assistance and moral support from the experienced Sam—proved to be all he needed. MUTUAL RESPECT Over the next several months, the same routine was repeated with many procedures. ” Within a few weeks, he had Thomas beginning surgeries on his own. Thomas almost always performed his tasks flawlessly. Once, however, he made a mistake and suddenly found himself on the receiving end of the sharp temper that his friend had warned him about. “The profanity [Blalock] used would have made the proverbial sailor proud of him,” Thomas wrote in his autobiography.
BORN WITH BAD HEARTS Most of the children that Helen Taussig saw in her clinic during the early 1930s had hearts injured by rheumatic fever. This illness sometimes followed an attack of strep throat, an infection caused by a common type of bacteria called streptococcus. The bacteria sometimes left the throat after several weeks and attacked the joints and heart valves. As with tuberculosis and so many other infectious diseases, there was no treatment for rheumatic fever in the days before antibiotics except rest.