Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams: The Father of Heart Surgery

Watch this video excerpt about the history of  Dr. Daniel Hale Williams

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams is the Official Father of Open Heart / Cardiac Surgery

What you should know...
  • On January 23, 1891 Daniel Hale Williams helped establish the interracial hospital, Provident Hospital and Training School Association; where he trained black nurses and employed doctors of all races.
  • Dr. Daniel Hale Williams is the first person to perform an open-heart surgery.
  • Dr. Williams was also the first surgeon to open the chest cavity successfully without the patient dying of infection
  • On July 9, 1893, Dr. Williams successfully performed open heart surgery on a young Black man named James Cornish, who was injured in a bar fight and stabbed in the chest with a knife.
  • 51 days later  James Cornish walked out of Dr. Williams' Provident Hospital fully recovered and went on to live another 50 years.
  • He was known for his professionalism and insistence on upstanding sanitation and operating procedures
  • In 1902, he performed another breakthrough operation, successfully suturing a patient's spleen
  • Williams' Provident Hospital had an 87% success rate in its first year of operation.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams other notable facts & achievements are:
  • Lived from 1/18/1856 to 8/4/1931
  • Live in Pennsylvania & Annapolis, Maryland before relocating to the Midwest to Wisconsin, then Illinois.
  • When he moved to Janesville, WI as a young man, he became fascinated with a local physician and decided to follow his path. He began working as an apprentice  for 2 years to the physician, Dr. Henry Palmer.
  • 1880 he entered what is now known as Northwestern University Medical School in Illinois
  • In 1883, he opened his own medical office in Chicago, Illinois
  • Dr. Williams became a surgeon on the staff of the South Side Dispensary 
  • He was a clinical instructor in anatomy at Northwestern University
  • 1889 he was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health
  • In February 1894, Daniel Hale Williams was appointed as Chief Surgeon at the Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C. 
  • When the American Medical Association refused to accept Black members, Williams helped to set up and served as Vice-President of the National Medical Association. 
  • Dr. Williams received honorary degrees from Howard and Wilberforce Universities
  • He is a charter member of the American College of Surgeons and was a member of the Chicago Surgical Society.

So, the next time you read some ridiculous article about how people of African descent are genetically and intellectually inferior, how we've never made significant contributions to civilization ... remember Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.


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