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Partners of the Heart

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Visitors to the Blalock Building at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center are greeted by portraits of two great men. One, of renowned heart surgeon Alfred Blalock, speaks for itself. The other, of highschool graduate Vivien Thomas, is testimony to the incredible genius and determination of the first black man to hold a professional position at one of America's premie ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 29th 1998 by University of Pennsylvania Press (first published 1985)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  89 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A challenging read because of medical terminology, but eye-opening regarding open heart surgery and the part Vivien Thomas played in developing groundbreaking surgical techniques; without a medical degree!
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this book in class with my Medical Skills students. It’s a bit heavy in Medical Terminology but so worth it. The story is an inspiring true story of two men who build a yin and yang relationship and because of who they are, and how they work together, change how medicine understands and cares for heart conditions.
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
This isn't a story book and the prose is a bit sparse but this is still one of my favourite true stories and bits of it get told every few months to a new batch of registrars so they too can wonder for a short while at the grit and genius of Vivien Thomas. ...more
Lily Mathe
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story - sucks you in.
Don Nemaire
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
found the book heavy with medical terms but inspiring all the same.
HEAVY on the medical terms, this book actually held my interest a lot more than I thought it would. Honestly, this would have been a 3.5 for me but it was surprisingly not as dry as I thought so I rounded up. Disclaimer: I did start skimming through the medical parts.

Vivien Thomas had graduate high school and was getting ready to enter college and hoped to continue to med school. But fate, and the Great Depression, intervened. He got on with Alfred Blalock in a school in Nashville and moved with
Beckie L.
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Vivien Thomas basically represents how hands-on learning and practice lead to new procedures and tools in surgery. Learn by doing. Dr. Bialock instructs Vivien Thomas at first but they eventually become interdependent partners. We owe a lot of the advances in cardiac surgery to these surgeons' experiments on dogs. ...more
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Good book, but they shouldn't use the still from the HBO movie Something the Lord Made. This book is an anatomy term-laden retrospective of the studies Vivien Thomas did with a few personal stories/anecdotes, not a touching story like the movie. ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it liked it
It was a little technical for me but overall a good book.
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