Jim Murphy

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BREAKTHROUGH: HOW THREE PEOPLE SAVED “BLUE BABIES” AND CHANGED MEDICINE FOREVER

December 2016, Clarion/HMH, 144 pp

In 1944 a groundbreaking operation repaired the congenital heart defect known as blue baby syndrome. The operation’s success brought the surgeon Alfred Blalock international fame and paved the way for open-heart surgery. But the technique had been painstakingly developed by Vivien Thomas, Blalock’s African American lab assistant, who stood behind Blalock in the operating room to give him step-by-step instructions.

The stories of this medical and social breakthrough and the lives of Thomas, Blalock, and their colleague Dr. Helen Taussig are intertwined in this compelling nonfiction narrative.

STARRED REVIEWS

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL – “Murphy’s dramatic nonfiction narrative recounting of one of the first open heart surgeries ever performed is not to be missed…”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – “Murphy masterfully interweaves discussions of discrimination, the controversy over animal testing, and the background of each protagonist into the main narrative, building tension as he leads up to the surgery itself.”


Nancy Gallt


Middle Grade


History

Nonfiction

STEM


Audio

Dramatic

Translation

UK