More about the film Partners of the Heart
In 1944, two men at Johns Hopkins University Hospital pioneered a groundbreaking procedure that would save thousands of so-called blue babies' lives. One of them, Alfred Blalock, was a prominent white surgeon. The other, Vivien Thomas, was an African American with a high school education. Partners of the Heart tells the inspiring, little-known story of their collaboration. Blalock recognized Thomas' talents when the younger man came inquiring after a hospital janitor's job. But though Blalock came to treat Thomas with tremendous respect in the lab, the two men were rarely treated as equals in the outside world. Over time, Thomas would go on to train two generations of the country's premier heart surgeons. In 1976, more than three decades after the first blue baby's life had been saved, Johns Hopkins finally formally recognized Thomas' extraordinary achievements, awarding him an honorary doctorate.
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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is closed captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers by The Caption Center at WGBH.
A special narration track is added to the series by Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®), a service of WGBH to provide access to people who are blind or visually impaired. The DVS narration is available on the SAP channel of stereo TVs and VCRs.
Additional funding provided by The Bergman Foundation, The D.C. Humanities Council, The Maryland Humanities Council, The Mississippi Humanities Council, The Tennessee Humanities Council, The Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Foundation (outreach), Blake & Melissa Swensrud, Dr. Stephen & Lori Markowitz, Dr. Milton & Marilyn Kalin, Dr. Steven Rayport and Dr. Marcia Kalin, Victoria Goldberg, Dolores & Arnold Wolf, and Peter Kovler.