发信人: docrockville (docrockville), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: A good movie on heart surgery history
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Wed Dec 24 06:49:44 2008)
Something the Lord Made recounts the relationship between Dr. Alfred Blalock (Alan Rickman) and Vivian Thomas (Mos Def). It begins in 1930s Nashville when imperious cardiac surgeon Blalock hires Thomas, an African American carpenter, as his janitor. When the latter reveals a passion for medicine and facility with surgical instruments, Blalock promotes him to lab tech. Thomas isn't given a raise, works side jobs to make ends meet, and is expected to be grateful. Along the way, he follows Blalock from Vanderbilt to Johns Hopkins, where they save thousands of lives through their pioneering work, but will Thomas ever get any credit? The film provides a satisfying answer to that question. Joseph Sargent (A Lesson Before Dying) directs with subtlety and intelligence, while Rickman and Mos Def are in top form, often underplaying where most actors would do otherwise. Something the Lord Made won the 2004 Emmy for outstanding made-for-TV movie. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Story of Legendary Johns Hopkins Team
By Greg Rienzi
Something The Lord Made is an adaptation of the landmark development of the
"blue baby" operation that launched a golden age of heart surgery.
Something the Lord Made is the story of two men — an ambitious white
surgeon, Alfred Blalock, and a gifted black carpenter turned lab technician,
Vivien Thomas — who at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1944 defied racial
barriers and together helped pioneer a medical field.
Directed by multiple Emmy winner Joseph Sargent, the film stars Alan Rickman
(Blalock), Mos Def (Thomas) and Mary Stuart Masterson (Helen Taussing,
Blalock's colleague/collaborator), along with Kyra Sedgwick, Gabrielle Union
and Charles S. Dutton.
J. Alex Haller, professor emeritus of pediatric surgery at the JHU School of
Medicine, trained under Blalock and Thomas in the 1950s and was a primary
consultant on the film. Haller, who attended a private screening, said that
the movie contains several powerful moments of discovery and collaboration.
"This is a story of two very talented individuals from different backgrounds
, during the period of segregation, who worked as partners on such a
remarkable achievement, an approach to the management of blue babies,"
"A touching moment for me came when they operated on the first blue baby. As
they operated and new blood began to flow into the infant's heart, they
took off the sheets and you saw the child's color change from blue to pink,
and then someone made the statement, 'It's a miracle.' This film documents
the development of the first operative procedure on a congenital heart
abnormality. It opened the door to heart surgery for the next 50 years."
The bulk of the movie was filmed in Baltimore, at and around Johns Hopkins
University, on both the East Baltimore and Homewood campuses.
Born in Culloden, Ga., Alfred Blalock received his medical degree in 1922
from the School of Medicine. After his internship and residency at Johns
Hopkins, Blalock joined the faculty of the Vanderbilt Medical School, where
he made important advances in the study of shock trauma. In 1941, he
returned to Johns Hopkins as professor and director of surgery at the School
of Medicine and surgeon in chief of the hospital, positions he held until
his retirement in 1964. He died that same year.
Thomas, denied a chance to become a doctor by the Depression, proved that
intelligence, persistence and ability transcend artificially imposed
barriers. A carpenter, he largely taught himself the skills that led him to
become Blalock's right-hand person. In 1976, he was awarded an honorary
doctorate by Johns Hopkins. Upon his retirement in 1979, he became
instructor emeritus of surgery. He died in 1985.
Together, Blalock and Thomas, inspired by the work of Hopkins pediatric
cardiologist Helen Taussig, developed the "blue baby" operation on infants
suffering from a congenital heart defect that slowly suffocates them,
turning them blue. The operation, which surgically corrected a defect known
as the Tetralogy of Fallot, broke the last barrier to operating directly on
the heart, long considered taboo and an impossibility. In the process, the
team pioneered stitching techniques and procedures such as the use of a
shunt to keep blood flowing to the heart during surgery.
The film's title refers to a quote attributed to Blalock, who upon seeing
Thomas' deft suturing work during a trial shunt procedure on a dog, said, "
Are you sure you did this, Vivien? This looks like something the Lord made."
Levi Watkins, a professor of cardiac surgery at the School of Medicine, who
attended a recent screening of the film and knew Thomas, said that the film
recounts a vital piece of medical, social and Johns Hopkins history.
"It shows probably one of the most incredible operations ever developed at
Johns Hopkins, one that forever changed the world inside and out — a moment
of pure science and discovery," Watkins said. "Perhaps even more important,
the film shows what two people, black and white, can do working together to
transcend racial barriers."
Watkins, who met and befriended Thomas in the early 1970s, said that he
regarded Thomas as a mentor and that, following his death, he has sought
every opportunity to spread the word on his accomplishments in the field of
"It is nice to see that finally, after all these years, his story is being
told," Watkins said. "He is perhaps one of the most untalked about,
unappreciated giants in the African-American community. He contributed to
the birth of heart surgery, proving you could do it in children, and all
this happened at Johns Hopkins. I think this is a tremendous thing, and,
knowing Vivien personally, seeing this recognition is what really lifts me
Alfred Blalock (April 5, 1899 – September 15, 1964) was a 20th-century
American innovator in the field of medical science most noted for his
research on the medical condition of shock and the development of the
Blalock-Taussig Shunt, surgical relief of the cyanosis from Tetralogy of
Fallot—known commonly as the blue baby syndrome—with his assistant Vivien
Thomas and pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig.
Helen Brooke Taussig (May 24, 1898 - May 20, 1986) was an American cardiologist, working in Baltimore and Boston, who founded the field of pediatric cardiology. Notably, she helped develop the Blalock-Taussig shunt in cooperation with Dr. Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, to treat blue baby syndrome.Helen Taussig was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Her mother died when she was eleven. Helen struggled with severe dyslexia through her early school years, overcoming it only with diligent work and extensive tutoring from her father.
She graduated Cambridge School for Girls in 1917, then studied for two years at Radcliffe before earning a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1921. She then studied at both Harvard Medical School and Boston University before pursuing her postgraduate cardiac research at Johns Hopkins University.
She suffered from deafness throughout the latter part of her career, and learned to use lip-reading to listen to her patients, and her fingers in place of a stethoscope to feel the rhythm of their heartbeats.
Taussig did extensive work on blue baby syndrome, which led to the development of the Blalock-Taussig shunt, first performed by Taussig and Dr. Alfred Blalock on an 11-month old baby girl on November 29,1944. Taussig wrote the book Congenital Malformations of the Heart in 1947, and received the 1954 Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for her work. In 1959, she was one of the first women to be awarded a full professorship at Johns Hopkins University.
She was also one of the key doctors to advise the American Food and Drug Administration to prevent thalidomide from going to market in the United States, after studying European children born with phocomelia because of the improperly tested drug.
In 1964, Taussig received the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson, and in 1965 she became the first female president of the American Heart Association. Johns Hopkins University named the "Helen B. Taussig Children's Pediatric Cardiac Center" after her, and in 2005 the School of Medicine named one of its four colleges in her honor.
Vivien Theodore Thomas (August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985) was an African
-American surgical technician and operative surgeon who helped develop the
procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. He was an
assistant to Alfred Blalock 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 to many of the country's most
African American Medical Pioneers
Vivien Thomas followed in the footsteps of other African Americans who made
advances in medicine and helped to improve people's lives. Explore the
profiles of six pioneers who held themselves to a standard of excellence,
although the odds were stacked against them.
Dr. Drew, physician, researcher, and surgeon, forged a new understanding of
blood plasma that allowed blood to be stored for transfusions. As World War
II began, Drew received a staggering telegram request: "Secure 5,000 ampules
of dried plasma for transfusion." That was more than the total world supply
. Drew met that challenge and found himself at the head of the Red Cross
blood bank -- and up against a narrow-minded policy of segregating blood
supplies based on a donor's race.
Daniel Hale Williams
First successful open heart surgery
Dr. Williams founded Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first black-owned
hospital in America. He is also credited with the world's first successful
heart surgery, conducted in Chicago in 1893. On a summer night, a young man
arrived at Provident with a stab wound to the heart. When the patient went
into shock, Dr. Williams decided to operate.
Mary Eliza Mahoney
First African American nurse
Ms. Mahoney was the first black professional nurse in America. Known for her
calm and quiet skill, she nonetheless mounted the stage at a 1909 nursing
conference in Boston to call for direct action to correct the stark
inequalities faced by African American nurses.
James McCune Smith
First African American to earn a medical degree
Dr. Smith was the first African American to earn a medical degree and
practice medicine in the United States. He was also the first to own and
operate a pharmacy, in New York City. At the age of 25, just returned from
medical school in Scotland, Dr. Smith rose at the annual meeting of the
American Anti-Slavery Society and spoke out against slavery, telling the
crowd of abolitionist support in Europe.
Rebecca Lee Crumpler
First African American woman to earn a medical degree
Dr. Crumpler was the first African American woman to earn a medical degree.
She devoted her life to improving health in the black community through
research and clinic work. When the Civil War ended, she realized that whole
communities of newly-freed blacks in the South would urgently need medical
care. So she left her Boston home and medical practice and moved to Richmond.
William Augustus Hinton
Internationally renowned researcher and the first black doctor to teach at
Dr. Hinton, the son of former slaves, became the first black professor at
Harvard Medical School and gained an international reputation for his
medical research. As a young man, he boldly declined the offer of a Harvard
medical scholarship reserved for African American students in order to
compete for a scholarship open to students of all races.
※ 修改:·docrockville 於 Dec 24 07:01:43 2008 修改本文·[FROM: 98.235.]