Wiki : Vivien Theodore Thomas (August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985) was an African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. He was an assistant to surgeon Alfred Blalock in Blalock’s experimental animal laboratory at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and later at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Without any education past high school, Thomas rose above poverty and racism to become a cardiac surgery pioneer and a teacher of operative techniques to many of the country’s most prominent surgeons. Vivien Thomas was the first African American without a doctorate degree to perform open heart surgery on a white patient in the United States.
‘Technician’ helped Dr. Alfred Blalock and Dr. Helen Taussig develop the ‘blue baby’ operation at Johns Hopkins
Three years later, Blalock and Dr. Helen Taussig earned international acclaim for their “blue baby” operation on a 14-month-old girl, while Thomas’ accomplishments at the time went unoticed. However, the success of the procedure could not have been accomplished without his research and operating-room expertise.
Present throughout the history-making surgery, he was able to advise both Blalock and Taussig because he had performed the same operation, which bypasses constricted vessels leading from the heart, more than 300 times on dogs.
He had worked with them, side by side, in the development of the surgical procedure that eventually corrected the heart defect known as tetralogy of Fallot, or “blue-baby syndrome.” Read on
You can watch the HBO movie titled “Something the Lord Made” Parts- 1-12 which tells the story of Dr. Vivien Thomas at the link below.