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Ten fun facts about Alfred Blalock


1. Alfred Blalock & Vivien Thomas: A Cardiac Surgery Revolution

Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas had a remarkable relationship that spanned over three decades. When Blalock was offered the position of Chief of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1941, he made a special request that Thomas accompany him. The two formed a close bond that was based on mutual respect and admiration. Blalock was known for his innovative surgical techniques, while Thomas was a master technician who could bring Blalock's ideas to life. Together, they revolutionized the field of cardiac surgery and made a lasting impact on the medical world.

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2. Medical Pioneer

Alfred Blalock, working alongside Thomas, developed a shunt technique to bypass coarctation of the aorta. This was not the only medical breakthrough Blalock was involved in; he was also presented with the problem of the blue baby syndrome, a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, by Helen Taussig. This defect results in inadequate oxygenation of the blood, and Blalock worked to develop a solution to this problem.

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3. Alfred Blalock and His Team Revolutionized Cardiac Surgery

Alfred Blalock and his team revolutionized cardiac surgery with their groundbreaking shunt and operation. This marked the beginning of the modern era of cardiac surgery, as it was the first successful surgery on the human heart since the dawn of modern medicine. Their innovation has saved thousands of lives and continues to be a cornerstone of cardiac surgery today.

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4. Pioneering Surgeon and Researcher

Alfred Blalock was a renowned surgeon and medical researcher, having published over 200 articles and a book, Principles of Surgery, Shock and Other Problems. He was also highly sought after as a speaker, delivering more than 40 honorary lectures throughout his career. His work has been credited with revolutionizing the field of surgery, and his legacy continues to be felt in the medical community today.

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5. A Medical Master

Alfred Blalock was a renowned medical figure, having been awarded honorary degrees from nine universities and belonging to 43 medical societies in the United States and abroad. His impressive list of accolades includes honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Birmingham, University of Toronto, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, University of Maryland, University of Louisville, and the University of Miami. He was also a member of a variety of medical societies, including the American College of Surgeons, American Surgical Association, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. His impressive list of accomplishments and awards is a testament to his dedication to the medical field.

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6. Alfred Blalock Receives Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award

In 1954, Alfred Blalock, along with Robert Gross and Helen Taussig, was awarded the prestigious Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for their groundbreaking work in the field of medicine. Blalock was a renowned American surgeon who was best known for his pioneering work in the field of cardiovascular surgery, particularly the development of the Blalock-Taussig shunt, a surgical procedure used to treat cyanotic heart disease in children. The award was a testament to the trio's dedication to medical research and their commitment to improving the lives of those suffering from heart disease.

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7. Making Medical History

Alfred Blalock was a renowned American surgeon and medical researcher who made significant contributions to the field of medicine. His legacy is honored at the Alfred Blalock Clinical Sciences Building at Johns Hopkins Hospital, which was named in his honor. Blalock is best known for his pioneering work in the field of cardiovascular surgery, particularly his development of the Blalock-Taussig shunt, a procedure used to treat blue baby syndrome. He also conducted groundbreaking research in the areas of shock, trauma, and the physiology of the autonomic nervous system. Blalock's work has saved countless lives and continues to be an inspiration to medical professionals around the world.

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8. Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas: Pioneers of Congenital Heart Surgery

In 2003, PBS's American Experience series premiered the Spark Media documentary "Partners of the Heart", which focused on the remarkable collaboration between Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas at Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins University. Blalock, a renowned surgeon, and Thomas, a self-taught African-American lab technician, worked together to develop a revolutionary surgical procedure that saved the lives of countless children with congenital heart defects. The documentary highlighted the unique partnership between the two men and the impact of their work on the medical field.

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9. "Partners of the Heart": Alfred Blalock Wins Erik Barnouw Award

In 2004, Alfred Blalock's documentary "Partners of the Heart" was awarded the prestigious Erik Barnouw Award for Best History Documentary by the Organization of American Historians. This award is a testament to Blalock's dedication to accurately and effectively documenting the history of medicine and the impact of his and Vivien Thomas' groundbreaking work in the field of cardiac surgery.

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10. Something the Lord Made: The Story of Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas

The 2004 HBO docudrama Something the Lord Made tells the remarkable story of the collaboration between Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, two pioneering medical figures who revolutionized the field of cardiac surgery. Blalock, a renowned surgeon, and Thomas, a self-taught African-American lab technician, worked together to develop a groundbreaking procedure to treat a life-threatening congenital heart defect in children. The film, which stars Alan Rickman and Mos Def, was nominated for four Emmy Awards and won two. It is a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact of Blalock and Thomas' work on the medical world.

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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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