By Lisa Yount
This e-book examines the careers of Blalock, a white male general practitioner; Taussig, a white lady heart specialist; and Thomas, an African American male laboratory technician; who in 1944 mixed their talents to create a groundbreaking surgery that not just kept the lives of millions of youngsters, but additionally made surgeons conscious that surgical procedure on dwelling hearts used to be attainable.
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Additional resources for Alfred Blalock, Helen Taussig, & Vivien Thomas: Mending Children's Hearts
Only her father’s patience and belief in her let young Helen survive her school years without losing her self-confidence. Fortunately, however, the problem became less severe as she grew older. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Helen Taussig entered Radcliffe in 1917. Like Alfred Blalock, she enjoyed tennis, at which she became the college champion, and other sports, including basketball. She also liked drama. Taussig was not really happy at Radcliffe, however. indd 11 8/23/11 11:59 AM 12 ALFRED BLALOCK, HELEN TAUSSIG, AND VIVIEN THOMAS an individual with strengths and weaknesses of her own.
A human heart has four chambers—two upper chambers called atria and two lower ones called ventricles. A solid wall of muscle, the septum, separates the right and left pairs of chambers. The body’s largest blood vessels (the vena cava, the aorta, and the pulmonary arteries and veins) connect to the heart. bringing life-giving oxygen and carrying away carbon dioxide and other waste products. In tetralogy of Fallot, four things are wrong with this normal picture. The most important defect, Helen Taussig realized, is a severe narrowing, or stenosis, of the pulmonary artery, which keeps most of the child’s blood from reaching its lungs.
In retrospect, I think this incident set the stage for what I consider our mutual respect throughout the years. In time, that respect ripened into friendship. S. 9-L) keg of whiskey hidden in the laboratory’s storeroom and often had a drink from it, mixed with Coca-Cola, at the end of the day. Now and then he shared his illicit cocktail with Thomas—something that the two could never have done in public because of their different races. The friendship was not without its strains, however, and most of them concerned Thomas’s paycheck.