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. 
1976 honorary doctorate (in LAWs since there were restrictions on medical doctorates) awarded by Johns Hopkins 
1976 Faculty, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 
died of pancreatic cancer
buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery  or Maryland National Memorial Park 
the Thomas-Blalock partnership was the subject of PBS's award-winning Partners of the Heart, 2003  and the Emmy award-winning and Peabody award-winning HBO film Something the Lord Made, 2004. 
↑ "Vivien Thomas." Sawbones (Podcast). 18 May 2017. Maximum Fun. (Web) 21 May 2017.
↑Partners of the Heart. IMDb.com (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.
↑Something the Lord Made. IMDb.com (Web). Retrieved 21 May 2017: A dramatization of the relationship between heart surgery pioneers Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.