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Testimonials for Vivien Thomas
- I love it it really helped me on my report for school
- im doing this person for my project for school and he is so cool
- Good site but needs updating seriously!
- I like this site but need more this century things :) Nice website though got me an b+.
- this site is pretty good
- Thomas was a genorous guy i think him and martin luther king are my favorite,true,helpful,and courageous #1 patriots they will always be remembered
- Am happy to see a black man saves millions of life and the documentary "something the Lord has made" has really inspired me with this film i show it to all young ones and aspire youth to learn something from it, that everything you want to become you can, if you put your heart into....
- this guy is an awesome guy
- Happi Black History Month You Guys...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- He was a man with the perfect touch saveing millions of people
- to your memory i thank you for my repared heart which works so well joe
- IM GNE DO MY BLACK HISTORY REPORT ON YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME OF MY LIKE
- Dr. Vivien Thomas was a great man who converted challenges into opportunities. I am not a medical doctor but an economist from Taiwan. Just want to say that I respect Thomas from the bottom of my heart.
- I show my aspiring health care students 'Something the Lord Made' every school year. It is an amazing story and an inspirational one. I have to put this movie as one of the best I have ever seen! Vivien Thomas is truly and inspiration for everyone, but especially for all those who enter into health care.
- I have only seen Something the Lord Made once during Black History Month, Feb 2003/4 on PBS-Boston. Each year since 2005 I have called Wyoming PBS to see if it is on the Feb schedule. I have not seen it again. A footnote at the end of the film said a picture of Annie, a little terrier whose life contributed to the success of the procedure, hangs in the Johns-Hopkins Hall of Medicine. Where might I see this? Thanks.
- ygyuf there is something wrong with you for saying that this sux, i need to ask you this why does it suck?
- this sux
(August 29, 1910 - November 26, 1985)
Born in the United States
Year of Discovery: 1944
A Surgical Assistant with Hands Blessed by God
The bank crash of 1930 wiped out a young man's entire savings, destroying his dream of going to medical school. But, this didn't stop him from going on to revolutionize the medical profession. That man was Vivien Thomas, an aspiring physician. His lack of funds forced him to drop out of college and, with work hard to come by amidst the Great Depression, he took a job sweeping floors at Vanderbilt University. There, Dr. Alfred Blalock took notice of this African American janitor and realized he had great potential to be so much more. Blalock hired Thomas as his surgical assistant. This began a decades-long association, during which the pair became a creative and formidable force in the new "golden age" of heart surgery.
Thomas was a quick study, with particularly skilful hands. He worked diligently and learned to perform surgical operations, chemical reaction procedures and data analysis with precision. His quiet dedication to Blalock and the experiments was invaluable. When Blalock moved to Johns Hopkins in 1941, he asked Thomas to accompany him. Thomas joined Blalock's surgical team and helped to develop the "Blue Baby" operation, also known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Blue Baby (Tetralogy of Fallot) is a congenital defect involving multiple abnormalities of the heart. The condition causes blood to be diverted past the lungs, resulting in a lack of vital oxygen being transported throughout the body. It's this oxygen deprivation that causes the infant's bluish color (cyanosis) and gives the syndrome its name. Before Thomas and Blalock developed the Blue Baby operation, 25 percent of babies born with this condition died before their first birthday-by the age of ten, 70 percent would die. The procedure to correct Blue Baby was painstakingly worked out by Thomas over a two-year period. Ultimately, he joined an artery leaving the heart to an artery leading back to the lungs. This gave the blood a second opportunity to absorb the critical oxygen and transport it throughout the body. Delicate instruments were needed to perform the corrective heart surgery on their tiny newborn patients. Since no such instruments then existed, Thomas designed and built them himself.
The first operation was performed on November 29, 1944. When the baby's blue face turned pink from the now oxygenated blood, Thomas was elated. He later said, "You have never seen anything so dramatic. It was almost a miracle." The promise the procedure held was quickly recognized and, within the first year, more than 200 operations were performed. Since the 1940s, countless patients have benefited from Thomas and Blalock remarkable discovery. In addition to treating Blue Baby, this technique was also adapted to treat patients with a variety of other heart diseases.
Dr. Levi Watkin, of Johns Hopkins University, described Thomas as, "the most un-talked about, unappreciated, unknown giant in the African American community. What he helped facilitate impacted people all over the world." Recently, Vivien Thomas' fascinating story has been the inspiration for the PBS documentary, "Partners of The Heart" and the HBO film, "Something The Lord Made." Though Thomas' intelligence, dexterity and determination were critical to Blalock's success, it was over 25 years before he was given proper public credit for his role in devising the Blue Baby surgery. In 1976, The Johns Hopkins University awarded him an honorary doctorate. Today, his portrait hangs in the lobby of the Blalock Building on The Johns Hopkins Hospital campus.
Introduction by April Ingram
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Links to More Information About the Scientist
Key Experiment or Research
Quotes by the Scientist
Quotes About the Scientist
Fun Trivia About The Science
The Science Behind the Discovery
Science Discovery Timeline
Recommended Books About the Science
Books by the Scientist
Books About the Scientist
Major Academic Papers
Links to Science and Related Information on the Subject
The DVD Something the Lord Made tells the story of Vivien Thomas. Better than most docudramas, the movie presents a nuanced history of two great scientists in an age of rampant racism in America. It shows the effects of prejudice on Thomas, an intellectual whose personality tended more toward quiet and studious, than confrontational. The science is presented well, telling the story of the first open heart surgeries, performed to make blue babies whole.
Of 152 reviews on Amazon.com, 137 are five star. Highly Recommended.
Links to More About the Scientist & the Science
The Medical Archives of the John Hopkins Medical Institutions profile:
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The Science Behind the Discovery
Thomas, Vivien. Partners of the Heart: Vivien Thomas and His Work with Alfred Blalock: An Autobiography. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.
Wyckoff, Edwin. Heart Man: Vivien Thomas, African-American Heart Surgery Pioneer (Genius at Work! Great Inventor Biographies) (Ages 9-12, 32 pages). Enslow Elementary, 2007.
Thomas, Vivien. Pioneering Research in Surgical Shock and Cardiovascular Surgery: Vivien T. Thomas and His Work With Alfred Blalock. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986.
Links to Information on the Science