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Blalock takes Thomas on as his lab assistant, and together they develop a technique that allows them to correct a common congenital heart defect in children.

Because of their work with "Blue Babies", they both have achieved immortality.

Something the Lord Made.

The Blue Baby operation, which surgically corrected a congenital defect of like something the lord made heart known as the Tetralogy of Fallot, broke the last barrier to operating directly on the heart, long considered taboo and an impossibility. The results were especially good, and baby Eileen recovered satisfactorily.

It was obvious that history had like something the lord made made, and Thomas and Blalock were the creators, the heroes of this extraordinary feat. At their blacktopped workbench and eight animal operating tables, the two set out to disprove all the old explanations about shock, amassing evidence that connected it to a decrease in blood volume and fluid loss outside the vascular bed.

In a few years, the explanations Blalock was developing would lead to massive applications of blood and plasma transfusion in the treatment of shock. All that was inside the laboratory.


Outside loomed the Depression. The two men discussed it, and Thomas finally decided that even if he someday could afford college, medical school now seemed out of reach.

Like Something the Lord Made

ByThomas had made his peace. Things were getting to the point that it seemed to be a matter of survival. Then, as they settled down to monitor all-night shock experiments, Blalock and Thomas would relax with a whiskey-and-Coke.

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Blalock and Thomas knew the social codes and traditions of the Old South. They understood the line between life inside the lab, where they could drink together inand life outside, where they could not.

Neither one was to cross that line. Bya handful of other scientists had begun to rethink the physiology of shock, but no one besides Blalock had attacked the problem from so many angles.

Something the Lord Made.

No one else had compiled such a mass of data on hemorrhagic and traumatic shock. No one else had been able to explain such a complex phenomenon so simply. And no other scientist had a Vivien Thomas. In his four years with Blalock, Thomas had assumed the role of a senior research fellow, like something the lord made neither a PhD nor an MD.


He was careful but firm when he approached Blalock on the issue: When several paydays later Thomas and his coworker received like something the lord made increases, neither knew whether he had been reclassified as a technician or just given more money because Blalock demanded it.

In the world in which Thomas had grown up, confrontation could be dangerous for a black man. He had sued the Nashville Board of Education, alleging salary discrimination based on race. But he lost his job. So Vivien had learned the art of avoiding trouble. In Decemberafter a whirlwind courtship, he had married a young woman from Macon, Georgia, named Clara Flanders.

Their first child, Olga Fay, was born the following year, and a second daughter, Theodosia, would arrive in The satisfaction of making a public racial statement was a luxury Thomas would not have for decades, and even then he would make his point quietly.

Meanwhile, he worked hard, making himself indispensable like something the lord made Blalock, and in so doing he gained a powerful ally within the system.

When they confronted discrimination again, they confronted it together.