By Lisa Yount
This e-book examines the careers of Blalock, a white male health care professional; Taussig, a white woman heart specialist; and Thomas, an African American male laboratory technician; who in 1944 mixed their abilities to create a groundbreaking surgery that not just stored the lives of millions of kids, but in addition made surgeons acutely aware that surgical procedure on dwelling hearts used to be attainable.
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Extra resources for Alfred Blalock, Helen Taussig, & Vivien Thomas: Mending Children's Hearts
No one was ever sure why, but a bout of whooping cough, then a contagious disease common in children, may have been the cause. Taussig’s deafness deprived her of some of the things she enjoyed, such as music. It also greatly hampered her work in the clinic. Like most physicians, she was used to diagnosing heart problems chiefly by listening through a stethoscope, which amplified the sound of the heartbeat. Now that tool was no longer available to her. Stethoscopes with built-in sound boosters helped, but they were not enough.
Most medical schools did not admit women, and even the most eminent women physicians were often badly treated. In 1919, for example, Harvard University hired Alice Hamilton (1869–1970), who essentially founded industrial medicine in the United States, to teach that subject in its School of Public Health, becoming the first woman on the university’s faculty—but it forbade her to enter the faculty club or march in the yearly commencement procession. Hamilton was still on the school’s faculty, in the lowly rank of assistant professor, when Dean Rosen so abruptly rejected Taussig’s application to become a student there.
DISSECTING A HEART Helen Taussig was not sure what she should do after graduation. ” She therefore applied to Harvard’s School of Public Health. Public health might be a good field for women, but Taussig quickly found out that Harvard had no interest in training them to enter it. The school’s dean informed her that she could take courses there, but she would never be allowed to earn a degree. ” Taussig asked him angrily. “No one, I hope,” replied the dean. “Dr. Rosen, I will not be the first to disappoint you,” said Taussig, marching out of the room.