Back in the 19th century, believe it or not, they weren't very keen on heart surgery. In fact, though there were successful surgeries performed, doctors didn't really start getting into them until WWII!
Of the two successful pericardium surgeries performed in the United States of America, the second was done by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. "On July 10, 1893, Williams repaired the torn pericardium of a knife wound patient, James Cornish. Cornish, who was stabbed directly through the left fifth costal cartilage, had been admitted the previous night and Williams made the decision to operate the next morning in response to continued bleeding, cough and 'pronounced' symptoms of shock. He performed this surgery, without the benefit of penicillin or blood transfusion, at Provident Hospital, Chicago, though it would not be reported until 1897. A second procedure was undertaken to drain fluid. About fifty days after the initial procedure, Cornish left the hospital." And Dr. Dan, as Black patients and poor white patients called him, was not just a great heart surgeon, he was a man with a vision. Sure, he was a shoemaker when he was young, sure he was a barber when he got to High School, but when he became fascinated by a physician and became an apprentice to the man, there began the bumps. He did his college thing but that didn't make a difference for a Black man, college degree or not. "At the time that he graduated from medical school, black doctors were not allowed to work in Chicago hospitals. As a result, in 1891, Williams started the Provident Hospital (Chicago) and training school for nurses in Chicago, Illinois. This was established mostly for African-American citizens." But he allowed anyone, regardless of race - the founder of the first non-segregated hospital.
A fascinating life of service, salute to the good Dr. Dan!
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