Through her research and teaching she was a leader in the development of the medical specialty of pediatric cardiology. Recently, in 2005 the John Hopkins School of Medicine named a medical college in her name. The two sides of the heart are kept separate by a wall called the septum. Like her mother, Taussig attended Radcliffe, where she played championship tennis. During the next year and a half, Thomas developed the technical procedures, using about two hundred dogs as experimental animals. Taussig discovered that the insufficient oxygen level of the blood of "blue-babies" was usually the result of either a leaking septum or an overly narrow artery leading from the left ventricle to the lungs. In 1962, a German graduate of her training program told her of the striking increase in his country of phocomelia, a rare congenital defect in which infants were born with severely deformed limbs. Associated With. 1 Now carrying the eponym of the Blalock-Taussig shunt, this was the first “blue baby” operation done during a remarkable early era of heart surgery. Third, she became expert at diagnosis through physical examination—made more complex in her case due to the fact that Taussig was somewhat deaf as a result of childhood whooping cough and unable to use a stethoscope, thereby necessitating her reliance on visual examination. Harvey, W. Proctor, "A Conversation with Helen Taussig, " in Medical Times, Volume 106, November, 1978, pp. Taussig would spend her entire career at Johns Hopkins until her retirement in 1963. She noted the absence of such birth defect in the infants of American soldiers living at U.S. military installations in Germany where the drug was banned. Family Life. She is known for saving the lives of "blue babies", and played an important role in preventing the use of thalidomide in the USA. In the course of her work with young children, she discovered that cyanotic infants—known as "blue-babies"—died of insufficient circulation to the lungs, not of cardiac arrest, as had been thought. Early Childhood Helen Taussig was born in May 1898 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Frank Taussig, a Harvard Economics professor,2 and Edith Guild, one of the first female graduates of Radcliffe College. Trivia (4) Charter member of the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973. 3 We must also remember that Helen Taussig almost singlehandedly … Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series) Helen Brooke Taussig (1898-1986) MSA SC 3520-13565. **Former Head, Department of Cardiology, St. George's Hospital and Grant Medical College, Mumbai; Cardiologist, Conwest and Manjula S. Badani Hospital, Mumbai. On completion, the child improved remarkably. Gemini Doctor #21. Taussig's growing reputation also brought her numerous students. She is credited with developing the concept for a procedure that would extend the lives of children born with Tetralogy of Fallot (the most common cause of blue baby syndrome). Over the years she examined and treated hundreds of children whose hearts were damaged by rheumatic fever, as well as those with congenital heart disease. In 1921, Helen Taussig was denied admission to Harvard Medical School because she was a woman, 2 yet she wrote the first textbook on pediatric cardiology that incorporated hemodynamic principles. in 1927 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She was the author of a hundred major scientific publications, forty-one of which were written after her retirement. Contracting whopping cough left her with a significant hearing loss; which, with … Helen Taussig, examining small girl in wheel chair, circa 1947. In early childhood she contracted a bad case of whooping cough which caused increasing deafness and also a certain degree of dyslexia. In the years that followed, the procedure, known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt, saved the lives of thousands of cyanotic children. Dr. Helen Brooke Taussig was a pioneer in pediatric cardiology and changed the outcome for thousands of children born with blue baby syndrome. In addition to her work in congenital heart disease, she carried out research on rheumatic fever, the leading cause of heart problems in children. Doctor Born in Massachusetts #5. In 1944, Taussig, surgeon Alfred Blalock, and surgical technician Vivien Thomas developed an operation to correct the congenital heart defect that causes the syndrome. However, wishing to be further removed from the shadow of her well-known father, she transferred to the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned her B.A. Her mother, Edith Guild Taussig, who had attended Radcliffe College and was interested in the natural sciences, died of tuberculosis when Helen … in 1927, she spent another year there as a fellow, followed by an additional year and a half there as a pediatric intern. She was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Medal of Freedom in 1964 and the 1977 National Medal of Science. She developed new observational methods that led to a new understanding of pediatric heart problems. She also had the honour of being the first female president of the American Hearrt Association. Accepting Taussig's challenge, Blalock set Thomas to work on the technical problems. Taussig decided to investigate for herself and spent six weeks in Germany visiting clinics, examining babies with the abnormalities, and interviewing their doctors and mothers. Helen Taussig was born into a distinguished family as the daughter of Frank and Edith Guild in 1921 from the University of California and her M.D. First Taussig became accomplished in the use of the fluoroscope, a new instrument which passed x-ray beams through the body and projected an image of the heart, lungs, and major arteries onto a florescent screen. Username *. During this time, Taussig served as an attending physician at the recently established Pediatric Cardiac Clinic. Physician Helen Brooke Taussig discovered a surgical procedure for treating "blue babies."
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