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Helen Brooke Taussig

by Anoka from Las Vegas

Helen B. Taussig (National Institute of Health ())
Helen B. Taussig (National Institute of Health ())

Helen Brooke Taussig was born in May 24, 1898 in Cambridge Maryland. Helen Taussig came from a well educated family. Her parents were Frank M. Taussig and Edith Thomas Guild Taussig. Her father was a famous economist at the Harvard faculty for fifty-three years and was the first chairman of the United States Tariff Commission. Edith studied natural sciences and zoology. At age 11, Helen's mom died from tuberculosis.

In 1921 Helen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She then worked in Johns Hopkins University Hospital where she researched the blue baby syndrome. She then did the Blue Baby Operation with Vivian Thomas and Alfred Blalock. In May 20, 1886, Helen died in a car accident, she was only 87. She died in the hospital, only days before her 88th birthday.

Helen had many heroic traits. For example she was a determined woman who spent most of her life helping people. As a doctor she became curious about the "blue baby syndrome" that caused babies to be born with a bluish skin color. Helen was a hard working person, she did so much research on the blue baby syndrome. Helen's findings soon made other people, who didn't believe her, realize that blue baby syndrome was caused by arteries that weren't able to pass oxygen to the body.

After her first successful operation in November 29, 1944, with the help of Dr. Blalock and Vivian Thoma, Helen's research on anoxemia or blue baby syndrome is being used to solve breathing problems that cause people to have a bluish colored skin.  The operation was dangerous because of the technical problems with operating on a small child. The child survived the operation and, days after the procedure, she gradually became less blue and it was clear that the operation was a success. 

After the first operation many children traveled to the John Hopkins Hospital to get treatment. Many news reporters found out about the operation and soon recognized a life saving treatment that Helen created. Many doctors and also surgeons traveled to the John Hopkins Hospital to find more information on the operation. Helen's operation was a success and many people, all over the US found out about it. Years after the operation, thousands of child were successfully cured.

Page created on 7/22/2016 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/31/2019 5:39:00 PM

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Related Links

Dr. Helen Brook Taussig - National Library of Medicine
Helen Brooke Taussig - Jewish Women's Archive