Something The Lord Made
Something the Lord Made is a true story of two men who, Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, who work together to develop a heart surgery to save their patients suffering from Blue Baby Syndrome. Their 34-year partnership develops through the depression era in Nashville where Blalock is a white surgeon, head of surgery at the John Hopkins Hospital, and Thomas is a poor, black carpenter with a dream of going to college and medical school. Blalock originally hires Thomas as an assistant in his lab, but discovers his talent in medicine and develops into Blalock’s research partner.
Blalock praises Thomas’ surgical skill and has Thomas coach him through the first Blue Baby surgery despite protests from Hopkins' administrators and other surgeons. The two men remain separated outside their medical partnership due to race, where Thomas has to fight for a wage higher than a janitor’s and is not invited to recognition of their groundbreaking work by the medical community. Thomas remained unknown until after Blalock’s death in 1985 when he was granted an honorary doctorate by John Hopkins' for many notable accomplishments throughout his career.
This was an incredibly touching story that I found to be both inspiring and frustrating. Blalock received international recognition while Thomas worked long hours in the lab to perfect the surgery and to earn just enough to provide for his family. It was interesting to see how long it took the American culture to accept a black man in a position of importance in medicine. I was impressed with how modest Thomas was. Even when Thomas stood up for himself, he was well spoken and said just enough to make his point. Blalock demanded respect and authority from the medical community, where it took the community decades to give that respect to Thomas, who in some ways deserved much more. I highly recommend this movie, as it demonstrates the segregation and limitations imposed in some fields. It is also inspirational to those who still are making advances in their fields despite social constraints.