Ten fun facts about Alfred Blalock


Fact 1
When Blalock was offered Chief of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1941, he requested that his assistant Vivien Thomas come along with him. They formed a very close relationship that would last more than thirty years.

Fact 2
Together, Blalock and Thomas developed a shunt technique to bypass coarctation of the aorta. While they were working on this, Helen Taussig presented him with the problem of the blue baby syndrome - a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot which results in inadequate oxygenation of the blood.

Fact 3
The shunt and operation they developed not only directly saved thousands of lives, it marked the start of the modern era of cardiac surgery, as it was the first successful surgery on the human heart of the modern medical era.


Fact 4
He published more than 200 articles and a book, Principles of Surgery, Shock and Other Problems, and delivered more than 40 honorary lectures.

Fact 5
He was awarded honorary degrees from nine universities and belonged to 43 medical societies in the United States and other countries.

Fact 6
In 1954 he received (with Robert Gross and Helen Taussig) the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award.

Fact 7
The Alfred Blalock Clinical Sciences Building at Hopkins Hospital is named for him.

Fact 8
In 2003, the PBS series American Experience premiered the Spark Media documentary "Partners of the Heart", which was about the collaboration between Blalock and Vivien Thomas at Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins University.

Fact 9
The "Partners of the Heart" went on to win the Organization of American Historians' Erik Barnouw Award for Best History Documentary in 2004.

Fact 10
In the 2004 HBO made a docudrama Something the Lord Made about the Blalock-Thomas collaboration.


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Short about Alfred Blalock
Alfred Blalock was a 20th-century American surgeon most noted for his research on the medical condition of shock and for the development of the Blalock-Taussig Shunt, a surgical procedure to relieve the cyanosis from Tetralogy of Fallot—known commonly as



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