Alfred Blalock (1899-1964), a cardiologist (therefore, self-confident to the point of arrogance), leaves Vanderbilt for Johns Hopkins taking with him his lab technician, Vivien Thomas (1910-1985). Thomas, an African-American without a college degree, is a gifted mechanic and tool-maker with hands splendidly adept at surgery. In 1941, Blalock and Thomas take on the challenge of blue babies and invent bypass surgery. After trials on dogs, their first patient is baby Eileen, sure to die without the surgery. In defiance of custom and Jim Crow, Blalock brings Thomas into the surgery to advise him, but when Life Magazine and kudos come, Thomas is excluded. Will he receive his due?
A breakthrough that changed the face of medicine. A unique partnership that broke the rules.
Did You Know?
Dr. Irving Sorkin, a retired dentist, was instrumental in getting Katie McCabe's article made into a feature film. Dr. Sorkin died of lymphoma on October 18, 2007, at the age of 88. See more
When Reader's Digest publishes a photograph of the first operation, one participant is identified as Dr. Michael DeBakey. Although he was a professor at Tulane, he was on leave as a consultant to the Surgeon General in Washington. See more
They say you haven't lived unless you have a lot to regret. I regret... I have some regrets. But I think we should remember not what we lost, but what we've done.
Written by Keter Betts
Performed by Keter Betts, Harold Mann, Larry Willis and Jacques Johnson See more