Alfred Blalock Facts

Alfred Blalock Facts
Alfred Blalock (April 5, 1899 to September 15, 1964) was an American physician and surgeon who his best known for pioneering the treatment of both shock and Tetralogy of Fallot, also known as "blue baby syndrome," a cardiac condition in infants.
Interesting Alfred Blalock Facts:
Blalock was born in Georgia and attended the Georgia Military Academy and the University of Georgia before moving to Johns Hopkins University to attend medical school.
He completed medical school and residency programs in a wide variety of fields before becoming the chief surgical resident at Vanderbilt University's hospital.
While at Vanderbilt, he taught in the medical school and conducted research on the treatment of shock, with his contribution being the need to transfuse plasma or whole blood products after surgery for patients who are going into shock following a procedure.
This single innovation saved countless lives during World War II.
Blalock was then offered the chief of surgery position at Johns Hopkins, but he agreed to accept on the condition that his long-time assistant, Vivien Thomas, be offered a position as well.
Blalock and Thomas, along with pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig, developed the Blalock-Taussig shunt to treat blue baby syndrome, a heart defect that allows unoxygenated blood to circulate back through the body, causing a bluish tint as the child struggles for oxygen.
Taussig had first brought Blalock's attention to the condition when she sought a solution for the heart defect.
Thomas, Blalock's surgical assistant, had already conducted work on rerouting blood through the heart to treat other conditions.
Despite having no education past high school and being an African-American in the early 20th century, Thomas was actually later recognized as the true developer of this procedure, and the shunt is therefore also known as the Blalock-Thomas-Taussig shunt.
Johns Hopkins awarded Thomas an honorary doctorate in 1976 for his work on the procedure, and Thomas went on to be the first African-American doctor without a medical degree to perform heart surgery on a white patient.
This procedure saved thousands of lives upon its development, and also marked the first successful surgery on a human heart in modern times.
Blalock was also responsible for more than 200 research articles on medicine and more than forty lectures throughout his career.
He has been awarded honorary doctorates from nine different universities.


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