American Experience
Early Years: Pivotal Decisions
Pivotal Decisions: Should the Thomas Family Move Back to Nashville?

You chose Choice Two, which is what actually happened. Thomas accepted Blalock's offer and stayed at Johns Hopkins.

Blalock was determined to keep Thomas on his surgical research team in Baltimore.

"There were two dates on the card, January 1 and July 1, with dollar figures beside each. When I read the figures on the card, I was flabbergasted. The figure beside January 1 was more than his most recent annual salary offer. For July 1, it was almost twice my salary at the time. Was Hopkins really making me this kind of offer? I sat so long just looking at the card, he finally asked, 'Well, what do you think?' Getting up from where I was sitting, I told him it was hard to think, that this was quite a shock. I asked when he wanted an answer and he said he would like it that day, immediately if I could decide... I finally told him that I would accept the offer and he could depend on me for the next year and a half, which was covered in the offer. After that, if I ever found myself in a financial bind, I would give him a thirty-day notice with no negotiations from either side, because I didn't want to go through anything like this again. There was silence for a few moments, then he asked, 'But you will stay now?' I said yes. Then, with the smile of a victor, he said, 'Thank God, that's over. Maybe we can get some work done now.' I told him I had been working the whole time."
                    -- Vivien Thomas, in his autobiography


Thomas can continue to work at a job he enjoys and, with an adequate raise, can afford to finance his daughters' education.
His family will not need to relocate again anytime soon.
He is comfortable in his relationship with Blalock and familiar with the routines and challenges of their work.


The Thomases will not be reunited with their family and hometown friends.
Living in Baltimore is a lot more expensive than living in Nashville, which diminishes Thomas' earning power.
Thomas will lose the opportunity to look for other fulfilling work, perhaps within the field of medical research.

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