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Vivien Thomas

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NEWS
April 20, 2012
Thanks to last week's news coverage, many have heard of the new Sheikh Zayed and Charlotte R. Bloomberg Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but there is another building at Hopkins that remains largely unknown: the Blalock Clinical Science Building. Two years ago, I watched the PBS documentary, "Partners of the Heart" during a tour of Johns Hopkins with a small group of students. It showed how two men, Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, equally contributed to help save the lives of 170,000 children suffering from blue baby syndrome.
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NEWS
April 20, 2012
Thanks to last week's news coverage, many have heard of the new Sheikh Zayed and Charlotte R. Bloomberg Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but there is another building at Hopkins that remains largely unknown: the Blalock Clinical Science Building. Two years ago, I watched the PBS documentary, "Partners of the Heart" during a tour of Johns Hopkins with a small group of students. It showed how two men, Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, equally contributed to help save the lives of 170,000 children suffering from blue baby syndrome.
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NEWS
By Andrew Schaefer and Andrew Schaefer,sun reporter | February 16, 2007
Felecia Diggs says her mother had to leave school after the third grade to help support her family but has over the years nursed people on their deathbeds and served as a midwife. "It was just something she naturally did," Diggs said. "If she had the money and didn't have to work for her family, she would've been a fantastic nurse." Her 83-year-old mother's determination is one reason Diggs finds inspiration in the story of Vivien Thomas, a surgical assistant who overcame racism, poverty and a lack of education to play crucial roles in several breakthroughs in heart surgery at Johns Hopkins, beginning in the 1940s.
NEWS
By Andrew Schaefer and Andrew Schaefer,sun reporter | February 16, 2007
Felecia Diggs says her mother had to leave school after the third grade to help support her family but has over the years nursed people on their deathbeds and served as a midwife. "It was just something she naturally did," Diggs said. "If she had the money and didn't have to work for her family, she would've been a fantastic nurse." Her 83-year-old mother's determination is one reason Diggs finds inspiration in the story of Vivien Thomas, a surgical assistant who overcame racism, poverty and a lack of education to play crucial roles in several breakthroughs in heart surgery at Johns Hopkins, beginning in the 1940s.
FEATURES
By Fred Rasmussen and Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF | May 25, 1997
Vivien T. Thomas, who was born in New Iberia, La., and raised in Nashville, Tenn., had hoped one day to become a surgeon. A bank failure during the early days of the Great Depression wiped away his medical-school savings and nearly his dream.The son of a contractor, Thomas was so impressed as a youth by his family's physician that he pledged to "be like him." He had scraped together the money for his medical education by working after school and as an orderly in a private infirmary.In 1929, Thomas enrolled in a premedical course at the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College and, after losing his money in the stock market crash, went to work in 1930 for Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University, who eventually trained him to be his surgical assistant.
NEWS
By C. Fraser Smith | March 10, 2002
DR. LEVI Watkins Jr., a Johns Hopkins heart surgeon and civil rights activist, set out Tuesday to operate on 250 Baltimore high school students seated before him in the hospital's Turner Auditorium. He wanted to implant hope. He wanted to inoculate against low aspirations. He wanted to impart vision. He knows the grim statistics about young black men in America's cities: Many end up in jail, on probation or dead. Any inclination to look for talented kids disappears in a cloud of cynicism: Every kid becomes a punk or druggie; every kid gets relegated to the statistics.
NEWS
By ROZ HAMLETT | November 4, 1993
That Vivien Thomas, a black man with neither a college nor a medical degree, could have worked as a research assistant at Hopkins Hospital during the 1940s was in itself something of a minor miracle. In that era of strict racial segregation, the only black men who worked at the hospital were pushing brooms and mops. Not only were there no black doctors at Hopkins, there were no black professionals of any kind.The hospital wards and waiting rooms were designated ''white'' and ''colored'' -- even the blood bank carefully separated blood donated by whites from blood donated by blacks.
FEATURES
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF | January 29, 2004
When he was growing up, Dr. Koco Eaton knew his Uncle Vivien as a soft-spoken lab technician who ruled the barbecue at the family's annual Fourth of July picnic in Baltimore. He had no idea that Vivien Thomas and his mentor, Alfred Blalock, performed the first "blue-baby" operation in 1944, saving thousands of lives and cementing Johns Hopkins Hospital's reputation as a premier surgical center. Or that Thomas, a black carpenter with no formal medical-school training, wasn't acknowledged for his crucial role in the milestone event until decades later.
FEATURES
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,SUN STAFF | December 17, 2003
Was that Mos Def who just walked by? Could have been. The rapper, Broadway star and film actor is in Baltimore for the shooting of an HBO movie about a Johns Hopkins doctor and his lab assistant. Titled Something the Lord Made, the film is based on the 35-year professional relationship and friendship between cardiologist Alfred Blalock (played by Alan Rickman) and his research assistant, Vivien Thomas (played by Mos Def). The men, who died in 1964 and 1985 respectively, together developed a method to save oxygen-deprived "blue babies."
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | May 18, 2004
With The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) and Miss Evers' Boys (1997), HBO has chronicled the African-American experience better than anyone else in the made-for-TV movie business. And now comes Something the Lord Made, a new HBO film about a white surgeon and a black lab technician who together pioneered heart surgery in the 1940s at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Beyond one significant inaccuracy, the film that premieres locally tonight at the Senator Theatre is made of the same stuff as the very best HBO movies.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | May 18, 2004
With The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) and Miss Evers' Boys (1997), HBO has chronicled the African-American experience better than anyone else in the made-for-TV movie business. And now comes Something the Lord Made, a new HBO film about a white surgeon and a black lab technician who together pioneered heart surgery in the 1940s at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Beyond one significant inaccuracy, the film that premieres locally tonight at the Senator Theatre is made of the same stuff as the very best HBO movies.
FEATURES
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF | January 29, 2004
When he was growing up, Dr. Koco Eaton knew his Uncle Vivien as a soft-spoken lab technician who ruled the barbecue at the family's annual Fourth of July picnic in Baltimore. He had no idea that Vivien Thomas and his mentor, Alfred Blalock, performed the first "blue-baby" operation in 1944, saving thousands of lives and cementing Johns Hopkins Hospital's reputation as a premier surgical center. Or that Thomas, a black carpenter with no formal medical-school training, wasn't acknowledged for his crucial role in the milestone event until decades later.
FEATURES
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,SUN STAFF | December 17, 2003
Was that Mos Def who just walked by? Could have been. The rapper, Broadway star and film actor is in Baltimore for the shooting of an HBO movie about a Johns Hopkins doctor and his lab assistant. Titled Something the Lord Made, the film is based on the 35-year professional relationship and friendship between cardiologist Alfred Blalock (played by Alan Rickman) and his research assistant, Vivien Thomas (played by Mos Def). The men, who died in 1964 and 1985 respectively, together developed a method to save oxygen-deprived "blue babies."
NEWS
By C. Fraser Smith | March 10, 2002
DR. LEVI Watkins Jr., a Johns Hopkins heart surgeon and civil rights activist, set out Tuesday to operate on 250 Baltimore high school students seated before him in the hospital's Turner Auditorium. He wanted to implant hope. He wanted to inoculate against low aspirations. He wanted to impart vision. He knows the grim statistics about young black men in America's cities: Many end up in jail, on probation or dead. Any inclination to look for talented kids disappears in a cloud of cynicism: Every kid becomes a punk or druggie; every kid gets relegated to the statistics.
FEATURES
By Fred Rasmussen and Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF | May 25, 1997
Vivien T. Thomas, who was born in New Iberia, La., and raised in Nashville, Tenn., had hoped one day to become a surgeon. A bank failure during the early days of the Great Depression wiped away his medical-school savings and nearly his dream.The son of a contractor, Thomas was so impressed as a youth by his family's physician that he pledged to "be like him." He had scraped together the money for his medical education by working after school and as an orderly in a private infirmary.In 1929, Thomas enrolled in a premedical course at the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College and, after losing his money in the stock market crash, went to work in 1930 for Dr. Alfred Blalock at Vanderbilt University, who eventually trained him to be his surgical assistant.
NEWS
By ROZ HAMLETT | November 4, 1993
That Vivien Thomas, a black man with neither a college nor a medical degree, could have worked as a research assistant at Hopkins Hospital during the 1940s was in itself something of a minor miracle. In that era of strict racial segregation, the only black men who worked at the hospital were pushing brooms and mops. Not only were there no black doctors at Hopkins, there were no black professionals of any kind.The hospital wards and waiting rooms were designated ''white'' and ''colored'' -- even the blood bank carefully separated blood donated by whites from blood donated by blacks.
ENTERTAINMENT
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN STAFF | May 30, 2004
From The Tuskegee Airmen (1995), to Miss Evers' Boys (1997), no one has chronicled the African-American experience in made-for-TV movies better than HBO. Something the Lord Made, a new HBO film about a white surgeon and a black lab technician who together pioneered heart surgery in the 1940s at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, continues that tradition with performances that are both forceful and nuanced, driven by a narrative that is as rich in texture as...
NEWS
February 18, 2011
I read with interest your article "From 'blue babies' to healthy adults" (Feb. 13). In December, 1960, our first child, was born with a congenital heart defect, transposition of the great vessels. He was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital for evaluation and possible surgery. Dr. Helen Taussig, a pediatric cardiologist, invited us to her home on a cold, snowy winter's day, explained the heart defect and recommended surgery immediately. One week after my son's birth, Dr. Henry Bahnson operated successfully, and a month later Brad came home.
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