Where would my daughter be if it had not been for Vivien Thomas?
Here are some facts about Vivien Thomas:
- He grew up in Nashville and had hopes of becoming a doctor, but unfortunately the Great Depression changed his plans. He had to put his education on hold and he became a carpenter.
- In 1930 he secured a job as a surgical research technician with Dr Alfred Blalock; however was classified and paid as a janitor.
- On his first day of work, Thomas assisted Blalock on a surgical experiment on a dog. Quickly after, Thomas was beginning surgeries on his own.
- By the mid 30's Thomas was doing the work of a postdoctoral researcher in the lab.
- In 1940 Blalock was offered the position of Chief of Surgery at John Hopkins and he requested that Thomas follow him. Many heads were turned as Vivien Thomas wore his white lab coat and walked past them in the halls of Hopkins.
Blue Baby Syndrome, aka Tetralogy of Fallot (SN- for those that read my blog during CHD Awareness Week you may remember my daughter was born with this.. read more here):
- In infants born with this defect, blood is shunted past the lungs, therefore creating oxygen deprivation and a blue appearance (hence blue baby).
- Blalock was approached by another cardiologist to find a solution.
- Thomas was assigned to create the same blue like condition in a dog and then correcting it. After around 200 dogs in two years, Thomas was able to replicate 2 of the 4 cardiac anomalies involved with Tetralogy of Fallot.
- Even though Thomas was not allowed to operate on patients he still followed Blalock's rules and assisted him during surgeries.
- Together as a team, Blalock and Thomas created a shunt, performed operations on more than 200 patients with the first year and had patients travel thousands of miles.
There are so many interesting facts that surround the work and personal relationship with Vivien Thomas and Alfred Blalock; I could not possibly put them all on here. There is an HBO movie based on the life of Vivien Thomas called 'Something the Lord Made'. It is an amazing movies that details the life, the stresses and the successes of Vivien Thomas. Below is a clip of the movie:
I encourage each of you to take the time to watch this movie. This movie does an excellent job portraying an amazing human being and the miracle that he created with his two hands. Like I said above, where would my daughter be if it had not been for Vivien Thomas.
Good news--- you can watch the full movie on Youtube.. click here!
Let me know what you think....
Written by: Aimee Fauci