Vivien Thomas

Vivien Theodore Thomas (1910 - 1985)

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Vivien Theodore Thomas
Born in New Iberia, Louisiana, USAmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Baltimore, Maryland, United Statesmap
Profile manager: DK Clews private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 21 May 2017
This page has been accessed 122 times.

Categories: Notables | African-American Notables.


Vivien Thomas is notable.
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  • notable surgical technician behind Alfred Blalock's breakthroughs in surgery - as a black man he was often omitted from Blalock's papers on surgical procedures but Blalock also defended him to colleagues and insisted on his presence during initial tetralogy surgeries for which he is remembered most. Thomas developed the procedure on animals and coached Blalock through the procedures on humans. It would have been illegal at the time for him to perform the procedures on humans due to his race. [1] [2]
  • son of William Marco Thomas & Mary Eaton [2] [3]
  • m. Clara
  • 1976 honorary doctorate (in LAWs since there were restrictions on medical doctorates) awarded by Johns Hopkins [2]
  • 1976 Faculty, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine [2]
  • died of pancreatic cancer
  • buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery [3] or Maryland National Memorial Park [4]
  • the Thomas-Blalock partnership was the subject of PBS's award-winning Partners of the Heart, 2003 [5] and the Emmy award-winning and Peabody award-winning HBO film Something the Lord Made, 2004. [6] [7]


  1. "Vivien Thomas." Sawbones (Podcast). 18 May 2017. Maximum Fun. (Web) 21 May 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wikipedia: Vivien Thomas, accessed 21 May 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Vivien Theodore Thomas." taneya & kalonji's family history. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  4. Find A Grave: Memorial #10372340 retrieved 21 May 2017
  5. Partners of the Heart. (Web). Retrieved 21 May 2017: During World War II and the era of staunch racial segregation, a Black carpenter's son named Vivien Thomas, who had a talent for surgery, along with a white surgeon named Dr. Alfred Blalock, who defied the medical establishment created a partnership that changed the course of cardiac surgery. With only a high school diploma, Thomas became a leading cardiac pioneer and educator of two generations of the United States' premiere heart surgeons. This moving documentary tells the story of Thomas and his relationship with Blalock, one that ushered in advances in surgery that are still in existence today.
  6. Something the Lord Made. (Web). Retrieved 21 May 2017: A dramatization of the relationship between heart surgery pioneers Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.
  7. Wikipedia: Something the Lord Made, accessed 21 May 2017
  • Vivien T. Thomas Collection, Collection ThoVT, 1930-1986 (inclusive) as found via search at

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No known carriers of Vivien's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 1
Viven T. Thomas by Bob Gee
Viven T. Thomas by Bob Gee


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