Monday, 24 October 2011

Partners of the Heart- Dr Vivien Thomas

Medicine. A specialty of prestige often viewed as the pinnacle of human thought and wisdom on the physiological level. Often viewed as a field composed of individuals with rigor, vigorous learning and abstract thinking skills. But during the great depression of the 30s, an African American carpenter set to rewrite both the rules and the literature as his live affair with surgical precision and the heart set a revolutionary feat in modern medicine. Backed by Dr Alfred Blalock, he was delegated a laboratory position at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University hospital. His meticulous effort in the lab, helped solve and age old conundrum, Blue Baby Syndrome, a condition arising from the instance of cyanotic heart lesions that inevitably resulted in death. It is crucial to credit the fact that overnight studies of cardiovascular anatomy and physiology forged his passion for the heart. His name was Vivian Thomas. Driven by the urge to attend college and earn a degree and break the racial attitudes of the day. However, his recognition was cut short , instead of his revolutionary stances being credited in the vaults of history he remained in the background as his unworthy colleagues tasted the fruits of fame. Nearly 30 years after his death, he was portrayed by Mos Def, in the 2004 film, 'Something the Lord Made'.  Thomas went on to earning an honorary doctorate at Johns Hopkins. Dr Thomas  set a new standard, a new benchmark and in turn is the undisputed founder of modern Cardiac-Surgery . A living, breathing representation of African American heritage and medical excellence at its best.

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