Vivien Thomas Surgeon

Vivien Theodore Thomas (August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985) was an African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. He was an assistant to surgeon Alfred Blalock in Blalock's experimental animal laboratory 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 of operative techniques to many of the country's most prominent surgeons. Vivien Thomas was the first African American without a doctorate degree to perform open heart surgery on a white patient in the United States. Thomas was born in New Iberia, Louisiana. The grandson of a slave, he attended Pearl High School in Nashville in the 1920s. Thomas had hoped to attend college and become a doctor, but the Great Depression derailed his plans. He worked at Fisk University in the summer of 1929 doing carpentry but was laid off in the fall.

Personal details

Date of birth
August 29th, 1910
United States of America
Date of death
November 26th, 1985 at age of 75
Cause of death
Pancreatic cancer
African American


1. Martin Luther King Magnet at Pearl High School High school

Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet for Health Sciences and Engineering at Pearl High School (or simply MLK Magnet) is a public magnet high school located in Nashville, Tennessee. MLK includes grades 7-12, and students enter through a lottery process similar to the other magnet schools in Nashville.

Type High school
Institution colors
613 17th Avenue North, 37203 - Nashville, Tennessee
Official web page
Wikipedia article

As movie subject

Title Year Other subjects Budget Awards Producers Directors Writers External resources
Something the Lord Made
2004 7
Mike Drake
David Madden
Julian Krainin
Cort/Madden Productions
Peter Silverman
Robert Caswell


Check Vivien Thomas on wikipedia.

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