Theme

AMERICAN HEART PIONEERS
Published on November 1, 2019
H E K T O R A M A:

 

.

 

ALFRED BLALOCK & VIVIEN THOMAS

Carrie Barron

1930 Nashville. A twenty-year old African American man, honors student, and son of a carpenter had his eyes set on becoming a physician. This was not unfounded. In his middle class community there were fire fighters, doctors, and teachers. Working as a carpenter he saved for seven years to finance his education. But then the Great Depression hit, banks foreclosed, and he lost everything. To support his wife and two children, he needed a job. A doctor at Vanderbilt was looking for someone to assist in his research lab. When Mr. Vivien Thomas entered the lab and met Dr. Alfred Blalock, the world would be forever changed.

The job was to clean the lab and the cages of the animals used for experiments. Dr. Blalock, a onetime playboy from a prominent family in Georgia had evolved into a passionate researcher. He was studying shock. Many soldiers’ lives had been lost due to this cardiovascular condition. Vivien gazed at the shelf of medical text books and the table of test tubes and took the job. His title was janitor.

CONTINUE READING

 


PAUL DUDLEY
WHITE

Philip R. Liebson

SAMUEL A.
LEVINE

Philip R. Liebson

JAMES BRYAN
HERRICK

Cynthia Kramer

 

HELEN
TAUSSIG

Colin K.L. Phoon

ADRIAN
KANTROWITZ

Philip R. Liebson

AUSTIN
FLINT

Cynthia Kramer

 


 

ROBERT E. GROSS

Philip R. Leibson

There is a myth that Dr. Robert E. Gross (1905-1988), a Harvard surgeon, performed the first cardiovascular surgery. There is no question that he performed the first successful major operation on the great vessels near the heart in which the patient survived, the ligation of a patent ductus arteriosus on August 26, 1938. He also performed the first successful correction of coarctation of the aorta in 1945. He made many contributions to the development and practice of cardiovascular surgery in his long career.

Let us not overlook, however, the first successful repair of a heart wound, by Daniel Hale Williams, an African-American surgeon, in 1893 at the Provident Hospital in Chicago. Going even further back, in 1801, Francisco Romero, a Spanish surgeon, operated on the pericardium. On the heart itself, we can look back to 1895 at the Rikshospitalet in Kristiania (Oslo after 1905), when Axel Cappelen ligated a bleeding coronary artery from a stab wound. In fact, even before Dr. Gross’ successful operation on the patent ductus, another surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital the previous year, successfully ligated the patent ductus but the patient became septic and died shortly. Even most interestingly, Charles A. Lindbergh assisted Alexis Carrel in developing an extracorporeal system to support organs during surgery, in experiments at the Rockefeller Institute in the mid-1930s.

CONTINUE READING

 

.

Hektorama