Thursday, June 19, 2008


Daniel Hale Williams (Also part Native-American) 1856-1931
-He performed the world's first heart surgery; the man lived 40 more years.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was born on January 18, 1856 in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Daniel's father, a barber, died early. Daniel was sent to be apprentice to a shoemaker in Baltimore but ran away to join his mother. At one point, he even opened his own barber shop. He began working as an apprentice to Dr. Henry Palmer for two years and in 1880 entered what is now known as Northwestern University Medical School. After graduation from Northwestern in 1883, he opened his own medical office in Chicago, Illinois.
He was appointed as a surgeon on the staff of the South Side Dispensary and then a clinical instructor in anatomy at Northwestern. In 1889 he was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health and one year later set for to create an interracial hospital. On January 23, 1891 Daniel Hale Williams established the Provident Hospital and Training School Association. The school also served to train Black nurses and utilized doctors of all races.
On July 9, 1893, a young Black stabbing victim was transported to Provident Hospital with a great deal of blood loss and having gone into shock.. Williams made the decision to operate and opened the man's chest. That was the first open heart surgery. Fifty one days later, the patient was completely recovered and went on to live for another fifty years. His procedures became standards for future internal surgeries.
In February 1894, Daniel Hale Williams was appointed as Chief Surgeon at the Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C. and reorganized the hospital with an astounding increase in efficiency as well as a decrease in patient deaths. The couple soon moved to Chicago after Daniel resigned from the Freedmen's hospital. He resumed his position as Chief Surgeon at Provident Hospital as well as for nearby Mercy Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital, an exclusive hospital for wealthy White patients.
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. In 1912, Williams was appointed associate attending surgeon at St. Luke's and worked there until his retirement from the practice of medicine. He received numerous honors and awards. He received honorary degrees from Howard and Wilberforce Universities, was named a charter member of the American College of Surgeons and was a member of the Chicago Surgical Society.Williams died on August 4, 1931, having set standards and examples for surgeons, both Black and White, for years to come.

1 comment:

Nicola said...

This was alot of help for my project on heart surgery.