On January 19, 2021
There was no reduction in the restrictions that segregation placed on Vivien Thomas and his family when they moved north from Nashville in 1941. In addition, there are a number of scenes in which facts have been changed slightly but which reflect the essence of the factual situation. It played a large and probably a primary role in preventing Mr. Thomas and others from demanding that Mr. Thomas have the opportunity to go to college and later get a medical degree. There is no one correct response to this question. Vivien Thomas graduated with honors from Nashville’s Pearl High School in 1930. DR. VIVIEN THOMAS (1910 – 1985) Born in Louisiana and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Vivien Thomas began to work for Dr. Blalock in 1930 at the age of 19. Black doctors cared for the sick. Thalidomide had been thought to be very safe. Both films are enriching. It was said of Mr. Thomas and Dr. Blalock that “In the privacy of the lab, they made the rules. She is credited with developing the concept for a procedure that would extend the lives of children born with Tetralogy of Fallot (the most common cause of blue baby syndrome). Helen Taussig also headed the pediatric cardiac clinic. I thought it was different in here.” What did he mean? Image caption: From left: Alfred Blalock, Vivien Thomas, and Helen Taussig Image credit: Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives. There was silence. Parenting Points No questions. This Dr. Blalock did not do and this is where he failed Mr. Thomas. Lodel Williams Luray Cooper. Afterwards, Thomas trained young doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical School in methods of heart surgery. What did Mr. Thomas say to Dr. Blalock when Dr. Blalock lost his temper and cursed at him and how did Dr. Blalock respond? Dr. Blalock soon realized that this young black man could be much more than a mere janitor. Her grandfather, William Taussig, was a physician who worked with blind children and had a school named for him. Bank Officer Henri Edmonds. They were not friends because Dr. Blalock kept Mr. Thomas in a subordinate position and didn’t invite Mr. Thomas to important social occasions, such as the large party thrown for Dr. Blalock. 10. Whether life’s challenges are what led Taussig to triumph will never be known, but she certainly taught that adversity is no barrier to success. The fact that the operation was experimental should have been (and probably was) fully disclosed to the parents when they were making their decision about whether to give their consent. Vivien Thomas never left Blalock’s employ. Was the blue baby surgery performed by Dr. Blalock full open heart surgery? However, this issue is one of belief and there are a few people who would still answer the question in the affirmative. Why was it difficult for Vivien Thomas to get a job once he had decided that he was not going to be able to go to college? On hand with cast members at the Baltimore premier will be several of the doctors who worked with Blalock, Thomas and Taussig and who still are associated with Hopkins. He did not encourage Thomas to attend college and then go to medical school. I understand that. Have students read and summarize at least five of the entries on HBO’s Share Your Story Page (containing remembrances and recollections of Vivien Thomas, Dr. Blalock and the experiences of many blue babies and their families); the students should then write a paragraph on which story they liked the best and why; 3. 2. Helen Brooke Taussig lived from 1898 to 1986 in a male-dominated medical world. Who do you agree with? She served as an Archibald Fellow in Medicine at Johns Hopkins and worked at … In their partnership, the two men treated each other as human beings and with respect. The movie was nominated for many awards and won several. It was the beginning of the Great Depression and jobs were scarce. Black firemen secured the neighborhoods. She proved that "blue babies" died of insufficient circulation rather than cardiac arrest, as had been previously thought. That Thomas was talented and that he was someone Dr. Blalock could train to be a good lab technician. She returned to the U.S. and spread the alarm. There is no one right answer to this question, although most will probably say that Dr. Blalock derived more benefit than Mr. Thomas. (Be kind; Be compassionate and show you care; Express gratitude; Forgive others; Help people in need). It was not until 1976 that Mr. Thomas was given an honorary doctorate by Johns Hopkins and appointed to be an instructor of surgery. 122 & 123. The drug was a tranquilizer that had been aggressively marketed in Europe. Natural Ways to Manage Depression and Anxiety. Why did Vivien Thomas cause such a controversy when he went out of the lab in his white lab coat? I regret …. However, Dr. Blalock never fully acknowledged his assistant’s contribution and claimed the results of Mr. Thomas’ creativity as Blalock’s own. Describe the two reasons why Mr. Thomas operated on the hearts of dogs in Dr. Blalock’s research laboratory when he was preparing for the blue baby operations. Over time she realized that her young patients were blue because not enough oxygen was reaching their blood. In the Blalock/Thomas team effort, did one of the team members benefit more than the other? The message of the movie on this topic is so obvious it doesn’t need any explication. AN EXAMPLE OF THE INTERPLAY OF ALTRUISM AND SELF-INTEREST IN RACE RELATIONS: From 1930, when Vivien Thomas first applied to Dr. Blalock for a job as a janitor, until well into the 1950s, black people in the South were not permitted to use their creativity to contribute to scientific research. In 1944, Taussig, surgeon Alfred Blalock, and surgical technician Vivien Thomas developed an operation to correct the congenital heart defect that causes the syndrome. He never fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor, but he was able to develop his talents as a scientific researcher and surgeon and make important contributions to science. Dr. Blalock was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and awarded numerous honors including the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. One would think, that after working together for decades Dr. Blalock and Mr. Thomas would be friends. This was another advance in the demonstration that blacks were not, in any way, genetically inferior to whites. What was the most important way in which Dr. Blalock failed to treat Mr. Thomas as a friend? That case established that black teachers had to be paid the same amount as white teachers for the same work. He served as the first resident in surgery at the new Vanderbilt University Hospital and stayed on as professor of surgery until 1940. Upon graduation, Dr. Taussig was assigned a job no one wanted, directing the Pediatric Cardiology Clinic at Johns Hopkins. Yet, Dr. Blalock, who came from a wealthy Southern family, never paid Vivien Thomas a salary commensurate with his responsibilities or his contribution. Perhaps Dr. Blalock’s most egregious failure in his relationship with Vivien Thomas was that Dr. Blalock never encouraged or helped Thomas to go back to school and fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor and a surgeon. The bank that held his savings failed the summer after he graduated and the young man’s hopes for college were dashed. The reason that Mr. Thomas and his fiance, Clara, were so happy that he had gotten a job, even a job as a janitor, was that jobs were hard to come by during the Great Depression. Her work in the clinic gave Dr. Taussig the opportunity to see hundreds of blue babies, children who had deformities of the heart that prevented much of their blood from reaching their lungs. Helen theorized that if an artery in the heart could be closed, one could also be opened to save the lives of the "blue babies". When the School opened, it admitted 13 male and three female students. Film portrayals. Thomas, pp. No. The documentary has excellent special features. In “Something the Lord Made” there are four or five occasions in which the character of Dr. Blalock used profanity. Just a few months before her death, she had the honour of watching Samuel Sanders, an acclaimed pianist and one of the first “blue babies” that she had helped to survive, give a recital in her honour. Dr. Thomas’ autobiography, Partners of the Heart was published a few days after his death. Based on his findings Dr. Blalock urged wider use of plasma or whole-blood transfusions to improve treatment for surgical shock. (1899-1964) Dr. Blalock earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins in 1922. Helen Brooke Taussig was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 24, 1898 to Frank W. Taussig and Edith Thomas Guild, who had three other children. In these respects, Dr. Blalock took advantage of the color of Thomas’ skin. At that point he didn’t know whether it would be a success or not. Was it Mr. Thomas’ obligation to support his family or Dr. Blalock’s need for him in the laboratory or was it something else that prevented Mr. Thomas from returning to college and then going to medical school? The Johns Hopkins Hospital named the Helen B. Taussig Congenital Heart Disease Center in her honor, and in 2005 the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine named one of its four colleges in her honor. Finally, standing on a step stool and looking over Dr. Blalock’s shoulder, Mr. Thomas supervised the first 25 – 35 operations that Blalock performed on human beings. The party scenes have been transformed from a birthday party for Dr. Blalock to which Mr. Thomas was not invited to a dinner celebrating the blue baby operations. Many religious people would take the position taken by Eileen’s mother, that the operation itself and the possibility of the operation was an expression of God’s will. 2. 20. Dr. Vivien Thomas is now recognized as a full participant in the development of blue baby operation. Each movie has its strengths. For more than 30 years, the two men pursued a variety of medical research projects. Film Description At the height of segregation in the United States, an unlikely alliance between a black medical genius and a white surgeon led to … 2. In 1979, upon his retirement, Dr. Thomas was appointed instructor emeritus of surgery. Dr. Taussig suggested various operations to improve circulation to the lungs. Did Dr. Blalock act in a caring manner toward Mr. Thomas? Yes, it was an experiment. in 1921 from the University of California and her M.D. One measure of the progress in Civil Rights in the United States is that in 2004, more than 11 percent of the medical students at Johns Hopkins University Medical School were black. Thomas and Blalock had, in effect, set up a separate world in the laboratory in which they treated each other without consideration of their respective races. The constant pumping of the heart is necessary for life to continue. A 90 second interruption in blood flow to the brain would destroy it. Bibliography. Had Mr. Thomas been a physician, he most likely would have been one of the premier surgeons in the country. But even if Mr. Thomas had not gone to college or medical school because he had a responsibility to take care of his family, it was Dr. Blalock’s responsibility to encourage Mr. Thomas and use his best efforts to make it easier for Mr. Thomas to go to school by offering to help Mr. Thomas get a scholarship and financial aid. On the whole, TeachWithMovies.com recommends the dramatic version. His association with Dr. Blalock was one of the most productive partnerships in the history of medical research. For versions of the test/assignment suitable to be passed out to students, see Something the Lord Made Comprehension Test/Homework Assignment and Partners of the Heart Comprehension Test/Homework Assignment. Taussig took the flame from these female torchbearers and lit a fire (in a fashion): she won more than 30 major awards and 20 honorary degrees. Physician Helen Brooke Taussig discovered a surgical procedure for treating "blue babies." A good answer will refer to the facts that: (1) Most white doctors in the South in the 1930s and 40s would not have trained a black man with only a high school education to become a full-fledged participant in pioneering scientific research. Viewing the young man as a person, rather than as just another black janitor, Dr. Blalock encouraged him to develop his skills as a scientist and as a surgeon. Social-Emotional Learning Open heart surgery includes surgery on the blood vessels leading to and from the heart. Were they? To me, Taussig is a true inspiration. Yet she was a trailblazer and it’s time to learn what she taught. Helen Brooke Taussig was an American physician, cardiologist, educator and author recognized as the founder of pediatric cardiology, best known for her contributions to the development of the first successful treatment of “blue baby” syndrome. Deformity, meanwhile, was being detected in babies born in Germany. It probably was a combination of the two. The term “open” refers to the chest not to the heart itself. Today almost all banks have Federal deposit insurance which protects deposits up to the amount of $100,000. Dr. Walter Dandy David Bailey. We saved plenty didn’t we Vivien?” What do you think that Blalock was talking about? 16. 18. They each contributed their abilities and capacities to a common effort. Available from Amazon.com. There is no one right answer to this question. Shortly after an epidemic of children born with flipper-like limbs, heart defects, and other malformations broke out in Europe, a student told Dr. Taussig about a possible link between the defects and thalidomide. In addition to websites which may be linked in the Guide and selected film reviews listed on the Movie Review Query Engine, the following resources were consulted in the preparation of this Learning Guide: FICTION (SOAPS, DRAMAS, AND REALITY/SURVIVAL SHOW), Announcement by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Partners of the Heart Comprehension Test/Homework Assignment, Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues, Web-Based Exhibit on the Blue Baby Operations, Hopkins pioneered ‘blue baby’ surgery 50 years ago from the Johns Hopkins Gazette. Another (so far as we can tell) fictional scene is the final scene with Dr. Blalock. Dr. Blalock promised that it would never happen again, and it didn’t. Dr. Blalock did not pay Thomas a salary commensurate with his work. He created, with assistance from his research and laboratory assistant Vivien Thomas and pediatric cardiologist Her mother died when she was 11; Taussig was also severely dyslexic, describing reading as “pure torture”, like “running an obstacle course”. The success of this operation demonstrated that surgery on the heart was possible. Helen Taussig (Mary Stuart Masterson), the pediatrician/cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, challenges Blalock to come up with a surgical solution for her Blue Babies. Determined not to let this condition stand in her way, she learned to read lips and “listened with her fingers” to her patients’ hearts. Helen Taussig. Helen Taussig was born on May 24, 1898 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA as Helen Brooke Taussig. This was not shown in the corresponding scene in the film. 9. Available from Amazon.com. A good answer would point out that taking risks and being on the forefront of research in any field could be called arrogant. Friends nurture each other. Maryland was a Border State during the Civil War and racially segregated in the period 1940 – 1965. At the end of the film, Dr. Blalock says to Mr. Thomas, “They say you haven’t lived unless you have a lot to regret. Mr. Thomas would, for example, operate on dogs to recreate the conditions that Dr. Blalock was studying and then record the results of experiments searching for a cure for those conditions. Selected Awards: 2004 Emmy Awards: Outstanding Made for Television Movie; Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Directors Guild of America, DGA Award: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television; Writers Guild of America, USA, WGA Award (TV) Best Long Form – Original; Golden Globe Awards Nominations: Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television; Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television (Mos Def); 2004 Emmy Awards Nominations: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie (both Mos Def and Alan Rickman nominated); Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special; Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special; Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special; Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie; Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Nomination: Best Picture Made for Television; Featured Actors: Alan Rickman as Alfred Blalock; Mos Def as Vivien Thomas; Mary Stuart Masterson as Dr. Helen Taussig; Kyra Sedgwick as Mary Blalock; Merritt Wever as Mrs. Saxon; Doug Olear as Michael Saxon. She received her A.B. HELEN B. TAUSSIG, M.D. When Dr. Blalock observed the results of the operation during an autopsy of the dog, he said, “Vivien, this is like something the Lord made.”. What would have happened if either of them had not pulled his weight in the team effort? Federal deposit insurance was a reform begun to correct the type of bank failure that took away the life savings of Vivien Thomas’ and many other Americans. Another major contribution by Dr. Taussig was her role in preventing large numbers of thalidomide-caused birth defects in the United States. The documentary, “Partners of the Heart,” is also very interesting. The doctors who Dr. Thomas helped to train, including some of the most prominent surgeons in the country, commissioned his portrait and saw to it that the painting was placed next to Dr. Blalock’s portrait as an honored member of the Johns Hopkins staff. It provides a graphic example of the interplay between altruism and self-interest in race relations. The information covered in this test/homework assignment is contained in the Helpful Background section and the movies. His employer was Dr. Alfred Blalock, a medical research scientist at the Vanderbilt University Medical School. Mary Thomas Cora Shay Buck. The development of the Blalock-Taussig-Thomas shunt is examined in … It was not charting new ground for Vivien Thomas to dream of becoming a doctor. Mr. Thomas was so talented and knowledgeable that at Johns Hopkins he was asked to train young doctors in the techniques of surgery. The students conduct experiments under the direction of a medical school faculty member, learning the process and methodology of scientific research. The story of the blue baby operations introduces three important medical researchers of the 20th century: Vivien Thomas and Drs. 3. On November 19, 1944, as the Second World War raged in Europe, and after years of preparatory work performed primarily by Vivien Thomas, Dr. Blalock operated on a baby near death from blue baby syndrome. In 1965 she became the first woman president of the American Heart Association. It had a large elite class of black middle-class professionals and merchants, with black doctors, lawyers, store owners, and entrepreneurs. Johns Hopkins has established the Vivien Thomas Fund which is “committed to reaching out aggressively to under-represented minorities to ensure the broadest possible talent pool in academic medicine and biomedical science.” There is also a Vivien Thomas Young Investigator Award established by the Council on Cardio-thoracic and Vascular Surgery to acknowledge the accomplishments of young investigators focused on fundamental and applied surgical research. She died on May 20, 1986 in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA. (3) We must be careful not to judge Dr. Blalock by current standards. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit ipso.co.uk. Undeterred, Taussig famously learnt to “listen with her fingers”, using her fingers in place of a stethoscope to feel the heartbeat—even diagnosing heart murmurs where other doctors failed. There is no one right answer to this question. Surely there had to be a way to “change the pipes around” to bring more blood to their lungs, Taussig said. The doctor had a point, but Blalock had other considerations as well, most importantly, that the child would die without the operation. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. He served there until his retirement in 1963. Moral-Ethical Emphasis, Assignments and Projects The story of the blue baby operations introduces three important medical researchers of the 20th century: Vivien Thomas and Drs. Read more from Helen here. Helen was born, the youngest of four children, in Cambridge, Massachusetts to well educated parents: Frank Taussig, a Harvard Professor and Edith Guild, a “founding student” at Radcliffe (where Harvard had all its women students go). In Dr. Blalock’s defense, it should be noted that society was probably not ready to treat Vivien Thomas as an equal to white doctors until the 1960s and 1970s.
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