Dr. Vivien T. Thomas

Dr. Vivien T. Thomas

Born: Iberia Parish, Iberia Parish Louis  Aug. 29,1910- Nov 26, 1985

Invention: Surgical Tools

Pioneering Research in Surgical Shock and Cardiovascular Surgery

Personal Bio

African-AmericanInventos.org
Scientist and Inventor. Vivien T. Thomas was born in New Iberia, Louisiana. His family later moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was educated in the public schools Graduating with Honors from Pearl High School.

In 1929, after working as an orderly in a private infirmary to raise money for college, he enrolled as a premedical student at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College. The bank crash that year wiped out his life's savings, forcing him to drop out of school.

In 1930, he took a position at Vanderbilt University as a laboratory assistant with Dr. Alfred Blalock. Thomas' abilities as a surgical assistant and research associate were of the highest quality, and when Dr. Blalock moved to Johns Hopkins in 1941 he asked Thomas to accompany him. Thomas joined Dr. Blalock's surgical team which included the often honored cardiologist Dr. Helen Taussig and in 1944 pioneered the field of heart surgery with a procedure to alleviate a congenital heart defect, the Tetralogy of Fallot, also known as blue baby syndrome. Sufferers faced brutally short life expectancies. Working as a team they developed an operation that would deliver more oxygen to the blood and relieve the constriction caused by the heart defect. Surgical Technician Vivien Thomas helped train many of the surgeons at Johns Hopkins in the delicate techniques necessary for heart and lung operations.

Thomas was presented with the degree of Honorary Doctor of Laws by the Johns Hopkins University in 1976.He was a member of the medical school faculty in 1976 until he retired in 1979. The publication of Thomas's book "Pioneering Research in Surgical Shock and Cardiovascular Surgery: Vivien Thomas and His Work with Alfred Blalock" gives details of their surgical procedures and techniques developed together during their professional relationship.

Cited: findagrave.com
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