Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vivien Thomas: A Janitor's Journey

Vivien Thomas was an Amazing African American. Wait till you hear what he accomplished. He had no medical training or college education. Skilled as a carpenter, initially he was hired to perform janitorial work. While working in a medical lab at Vanderbilt University, he was allowed to assist a doctor with research. There, Thomas worked towards finding a way to treat Blue Baby Syndrome, a life threatening disease affecting infants. In 1944 after developing and perfecting a life-saving surgical procedure, Thomas guided Dr. Alfred Blalock, the very doctor that hired him, through the successful completion of the groundbreaking surgery. Because of his contribution to the field of medicine he was given an honorary doctorate degree. As the Instructor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical School, he trained surgeons at one of the best medical programs in the country.Starting out as a janitor with only a high school diploma his journey was quite an accomplishment. His inspiring story is told in the HBO movie, Something the Lord Made.


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