July 09, 2012

On this day in 1893, the first open heart surgery was performed

Or so I thought. Then I started looking into it. Doctor Daniel Hale Williams, an African-American physician,  repaired a wound to the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart), but did not operate on the heart itself. It also appears that this was not the first time this type of operation was done. Approximately two years earlier, another physician by the name of Henry Dalton performed a nearly identical procedure.

Vivien Thomas, subject of an Enslow Elementary title, was not a physician, but worked with Alfred Blalock, including assisting Blalock in an operation on the first blue baby syndrome case in November 1944. The two worked together for many years. Even though Vivien Thomas never received his medical degree, he trained many aspiring surgeons using his efficient surgery techniques.

Posted by Pam.

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