Free Book Review On Demonstration Of Gender Bias And Racism In Vivien Thomas’ Role In The Treatment Of Blue Babies
Type of paper: Book Review
Topic: Students, University, Education, America, Community, Medicine, Medical Community, Racism
Vivien Theodore Thomas was an African- American pioneer of the procedure that is used to treat the blue baby syndrome. He worked as an assistant surgeon to a white renowned surgeon by the name Alfred Blalock. The pair worked together in Nashville at the Vanderbilt University and later at Baltimore, Maryland in the John Hopkins University. Theodore made significant contributions in developing the surgical procedures that are used in the treatment of the blue baby syndrome. His story to the top is one that tells a great deal about gender bias and racism in the medical community of America during his time (mid 20th century).
Racism in the community was demonstrated when Thomas walked out of the lab without removing his white lab coat. The act was condemned by both the black and the white people at the John Hopkins University. The whites were unused to black people wearing the lab coat since they thought that the surgeon’s profession was a reserve for the whites. They felt threatened as the dominant race in medicine. The African-Americans felt that Theodore was intentionally acting superior to them and as a result they resented it. Another point in the story that demonstrates racism in the story is the fact that Dr. Blalock took all the credit for the successful procedures that were developed with significant contributions from Theodore. After the procedures had become successful, Theodore was rarely mentioned as a contributing pioneer to the procedures. Apart from Theodore, there is no other African- American whom we know as a contributor or player in the medical community in mid 20th century is a clear pointer that the American Medical Community was racist. Were there no African-Americans who could be trained in the medical profession? Definitely there were but they were not given an equal chance to their white counterparts. Although Theodore’s determination and intelligence contributed to Dr. Blalock’s success, the John Hopkins University never recognized Theodore’s contribution. It was in 1976 (25 years later) that the University awarded him an honorary doctorate. His portrait was later hanged in the Blalock Building’s lobby in the John Hopkins Hospital campus. All these points show that the American Medical Community was highly racist in the mid 20th Century.
While at the John Hopkins University, Theodore started working together with Doctor Helen Taussig. Dr. Taussig had an idea about the treatment of blue babies. She was subjected to gender based discriminatory practices at the John Hopkins University. The University only contracted her as a professor under tenure although she had gained international renown after working for nearly sixteen years as a mere instructor. This shows that there was gender-based discrimination in the American Medical Community at the time.