Something the Lord Made is an HBO film about a pioneering development in medical research in the 194o’s at Johns Hopkins Hospital with the Chief of Heart Surgery Alfred Blalock and a lab technician Vivien Thomas who pioneered a technique for performing heart surgery on “blue babies,” children born with hearts that are unable to pump strong enough to oxygenate their blood. The film presents the challenge of a talented African American lab technician who is required to use the rear entrance of the hospital to come to work and faces segregation and racism in every sector of American life, including medicine, when working with a leading heart surgeon to develop a new field of surgery. In addition the film shows how animals were used in developing medical surgeries then. It is a challenging and insightful look into American Medical History – and a poignant view on the contributions of African American men and women to the knowledge we have gained as a society in how we treat common medical conditions. As you watch the movie, you’ll be entertained, and appreciate that looking back at medical advances gives us a new view of the conduct of research and the people involved in it.
Watch a trailer here.