American cardiologist Helen Brooke Taussig founded the field of pediatric cardiology and developed the concept for a procedure that prolonged the lives of children suffering from blue baby syndrome. (photo: Yousuf Karsh)
Vivien Thomas, African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. Thomas was also offered the position of Chief of Surgery at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins in 1941.
Vivienne Thomas. At Johns Hopkins, the word "breakthrough" rarely is used. But Vivien Thomas was a pivotal player in the development of a true breakthrough at The Johns Hopkins Hospital just 60 years ago. Working with surgeon Alfred Blalock and pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig, Thomas was part of a team that devised a means to correct a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, or Blue Baby syndrome.
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 is credited with developing the concept for a procedure that would extend the lives of children born with Tetrology of Fallot (also known as blue baby syndrome). This concept was applied in practice as a procedure known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt. The procedure was developed by Dr. Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, who…
Alfred Blalock While doing research into the nature of hemorrhagic shock, Blalock found that surgical shock results primarily from blood loss. His recommendation that blood plasma and whole blood products be administered to those suffering from shock saved many lives during WWII. His later work on "blue baby syndrome," formally known as Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), led to the development of the Blalock-Taussig shunt, a pioneering procedure in the field of pediatric cardiology.