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Helen Taussig, Mother of Pediatric Cardiology

2020-11-16 | 🔗

Helen’s story is tied to Vivien Thomas and Alfred Blalock in the surgical treatment of blue baby syndrome. She was the one who suggested that Alfred Blalock try to find a surgical approach to congenital heart conditions like tetralogy of Fallot.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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welcome to stuff. You missed in history, glass, a production of Iheart Radio, hello and welcome the cask, I'm Tracy bewilderment and I'm Holly fry today. We have the first so in something that is not exactly a to partner, it is more like two interconnected episodes and they're, so Interpol, But when I was researching and writing them, I had both outlines open the whole time something I also had to browser window, is the two sets of pdf full of research. The episodes are on Helen Tausig and Vivian Thomas who worked with Surgeon Alfred. Lock to develop a surgical treatment for children who have fanatic heart conditions are so called blue baby syndrome. This surgery was performed for the first time in nineteen, forty four, we have gotten it just a steady
We have for an episode on Vivian Thomas over the years, some of them as recently as last week, but every time I started to look into it, I became equally interested and Helen Tausig. She, the one who suggested that Blaylock try to find a surgical approach to congenital heart conditions like to trilogy of Fallow and then Tom. Was the one who actually worked out. How to do this procedure. Basically, They had a dream and Thomas than Blaylock made that dream into a reality. Topics contribution publicly acknowledged at the time that it happened, but she did not receive nearly the amount of recognition that Blaylock did and then ask for Thomas. Contributions were not publicly recognise that all So much much later. So today we going to talk about Helen and including how she helped found the specialty of pediatric cardiology. In the next episode we'll talk about Vivian Thomas
and how he developed? This surgery, but Helen Tausig, had the idea for Helen Tausig was born. May twenty fourth eighteen. Ninety eight in Cambridge Massachusetts, she was the this child of Frank and Edith Guild. Tausig Frank was professor and an economist who would later serve as chair of the Federal Tariff Commission and as a member of the advisory committee on peace in the Paris peace COM since, at the end of world war, one either had been one of the first students at Radcliffe College, where she had studied biology and zoology Helen contracted an illness that affected her hearing. When she was a child sources are contradictory about whether it was protests or the flu or some other infection she and her mother also both contracted tuberculosis and Edith died of it. When Helen was only eleven Helen had been really close to her mother, who had shared her love of bought me a nature with her children. But then, after Edith, death.
Helen became a lot closer to her father. This was only because Helen had just lost her mom. It was also because she had dyslexia at the time very little was known about Dyslexia or how to treat it or how to make reading and writing more accessible to people with it. and while Helen really enjoyed learning reading in particular, was very hard for her. This compounded by the way she was treated at school yours would have students read aloud in front of the class until they me mistake and for Helen. The combination of Dyslexia and her anxiety about making mistakes in front of the class meant that air we were both frequent and particularly embarrassing, hellenes Father tutored her extensively, and while she did go on to publish more than one hundred articles during her career reading, Never something that came particularly easy to her
Helen graduated from Cambridge School for girls and nineteen seventeen and from there she followed in her mothers footsteps and spent two years at Radcliffe College, where she was on the basketball and tennis teams. She well at Radcliffe, but she also being there a little bit. Frustrating Radcliffe had been established as a women's college for Harvard and her father was a renowned Harvard professor. So as long as she was a radcliffe, she was always frank. Tausig s daughter. She wondered whether the successes that, having there were based on her own merits or were based on her connection to him after taking a trip to California Helen, decided that the University of California at Berkeley might be a better fit for her and she transferred their sugar. You waited in nineteen twenty one by this She wanted to study medicine and her father suggested that she study public health, which was, in his opinion, a good food, for women
with opening a new school of public health. Having previously run a public health programme in conjunction with MIT, however, Harvard was not inferring degrees to women, something but also just came up in our episode on Cecilia Pain, compassion when Tausig bet with Milton J Rosneft, who was dean of Harvard School of Public health. She asked him who would be foolish enough, spent four years at a programme that would not actually confer a degree at the end, his There was no one, I hope, and then she said I will not be the first to disappoint you good afternoon a lot of accounts describe her is kind of shy, but she could also be salty and still wanted to study medicine, though so she got permission to take a histology course at Harvard, but she wasn't allowed to interact with the other students and she had
All of her lab work alone. Her profess Doktor John Louis Bremmer, advised her to study at Boston, university, medical school. That's good! had been established in eighteen. Seventy three, when Boston University merged with New England, female medical college becoming the first CO educational medical school in the United States, it was B, you that Tausig started studying the heart. Her anatomy profess doktor. Alexander bag was also the dean of the Medical school and he suggested that she study bovine hearts. This lead to her first published paper, which was co authored with fake EL misery. It was titled rhythmic, contractions and isolated muscle, strips of mammalian ventricle, and in this paper they demonstrated that strips of cardiac muscle from mammals beat intrinsically in that was something that had already been established and reptile hearts, but not in mammals.
Does it really excelled in her work at Boston University to the point that bag thought she might be welcomed at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland along As part of the funding to the Johns Hopkins Medical School had come from the women's Fund committee organised by Mary Elizabeth Gear, it and other major donors dabble shred of the medical school was only possible thanks to their contributions, which were made under the condition that women be allowed to enroll and given the same opportunities as men. Can I love this pay for this. ethical school, but only if women can go here when Tausig applied to Johns Hopkins. her letters of reference included one from Harvard Professor Doktor Walter Cannon, which read in part quote women were admitted to Harvard. I would enthusiastically vote for her admission. Ultimately, He was admitted at Johns Hopkins than when we started there in nineteen twenty three, her class included. Sixty men and ten women,
Helen Tausig earned her empty from Johns Hopkins and nineteen twenty seven and she hoped to continue on there with an internship and internal medicine, but there is only one space available for a woman and that went to Doktor Vivian Tappin, whose GPA was to ten. the point higher than tossings tat. They had been working at the Johns Hopkins Heart Clinic and doktor. Edwards Perkins offered her the chance to spend her next year. There After that year was she started a residency in pediatrics under Doktor Edwards park. newly arrived on the Johns Hopkins Faculty at this point after Tausig medical education included an empty and additional work and cardiac care and pediatrics, and all of that came together in nineteen thirty. We're gonna talk about that more after a sponsor break.
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One Doktor Edwards Park started working at Johns Hopkins. He thought that that children with Medical means we're getting pretty good medical here there. But he didn't think that was as much the case when it came to their long term, follow ups or when it came to ongoing treatment for children who had chronic issues. So to try to correct this problem. The established for specialty clinics for children at Johnson and there was a pulmonary clinic which focused largely on tuberculosis and endocrine clinic, a psychiatric clinic and a cardiac clinic beads of those employed. Social worker you could follow up with patients and their families that home these, ex, were headquarters at the Harriet Lane home then known as the Harriet Lean home for invalid children, Harriet Lane Johnston the knees of President James Buchanan, who also served as his first lady, had led
Johns Hopkins four hundred thousand dollars in her will in memory of her two sons who had died of rheumatic fever in childhood. The Harriet Lame home opened in nineteen twelve, although it wasn't the first children's hospital in the: U S, that was the children's hospital Philadelphia, which was established in eighteen. Fifty five, it one the first one to be connected to a medical school. Although the Harriet Lean whom closed in nineteen seventy two, the Harriet Lean clinic, still operates at Johns Hopkins in nine. I'm thirty park appointed Doktor Helen Tausig as head of the children's heart clinic at the Harriet Lane him. She would only, two years old at the time and adversely try to turn offer down, because she did not think she had enough experience for it in the end, though she accepted, and she continued in this role until her retirement in nineteen. Sixty three toss. It had been finishing her medical training and starting in this new role she had, have been losing more of her hearing
used to hearing aid which she carried on a strap around her neck, and she had an amplifying stethoscope that had been designed specifically for her she also learn to red lips and to helping patients heart rhythms using her hands and fingers over time she learned how to distinguish heart murmurs, based on how they felt colluding murmurs that weren't audibly distinguishable from one another when hearing through a stethoscope. I think this is the listing ever since she, judge the volume of her own voice when teaching tossing also had a friend sit in the back of the Lecture Hall to signal her if she needed to be louder or quieter. So when she started at this clinic, a big part of the children's cardiac clinics work at Johns Hopkins involves treating children whose hearts had been damaged by rheumatic fever, rheumatic fever, is a condition that can develop after a person has had strap throat or scarlet fever, both of which are caused by group. A streptococcus rheumatic fever can cause heart. Murmurs
enlarged heart and fluid accumulation around the heart, and it why more common before the development of antibiotics that could kill streptococcus bacteria, which happened later on in the nineteen thirties, but part wanted tossing to focus her work at the clinic beyond just rheumatic fever patience. He also wanted her to study congenital heart disease is concerned, conditions are ones that develop before birth and congenital heart conditions are the most common type of congenital disorder. At the time, though, there hadn't been much research into congenital conditions at all, and especially congenital heart conditions. They were really Treatable and in many cases they were fatal. It seems though, there is really nothing to be done to help the patients. So in the minds of a lot of researchers, the really wasn't any point in studying them: having got in this direction for park, specifically to study them tussocks
gathering as much information as she could about her patients hearts. The cardiac clinic was outfitted with fluoroscopy an x ray machines as well as electrocardiogram units, so tacit was imaging patients hearts and measuring their electrical activity, since these can and were sadly so often fatal. She would also perform autopsies so that information that she gathered, while patients were alive, came together with the physical study of their heart after they had died her time based on all of this study. Tossing was able to develop diagnostic criteria for living patience. As this happening. Doktor, Maud Abbot was also doing similar work at the Miguel Medical Museum in Montreal Abbot, published atlas of congenital cardiac disease in nineteen thirty six, which became an inspiration for tossings work, one the conditions the tasks are over and over again was called to draw Luigi follow
name for Etienne Louie, Arthur Fellow who first described it in eighteen. Eighty eight and correctly working hard de oxygenated blow from the body enters the right. Atrium, the right atrium pumps it into the right ventricle, the right, ventricle pumps that blood through pulmonary valve and into the pulmonary artery, which goes to the lungs in the lungs. The blood picks up, oxygen leaves behind carbon dioxide, and then the accident, aided blood, makes its way back into the heart through the left, atrium the left, atrium pumps, the blood down into the left, ventricle and then the left ventricle humph. The oxygenated blood out into the rest of the body through the aorta tetrarchy of fellow, is a four part condition that affects the circulation in multiple ways, one, the valve between the heart and the pulmonary artery, is too narrow. So there's less room for the de oxygenated blood to move to the lungs too
because the right ventricle has to work a lot harder to pump blood you that narrow space, it's enlarged we, there is a whole between the two ventricle, so de oxygenated blood from the right ventricle and oxygenated blood from the left ventricle mix together, when it absolutely should not for rather than being attached to the left ventricle, where it's supposed to be. The order is shifted over, so it receives blood from both sides of the heart with oxygenated, Andy oxygenated blood mixed together. All this together means that the heart, having to work a lot harder and that the I'm going out to the extremities doesn't carry as much oxygen as it should that's a condition called annex C mere children. With this condition often have bluish skin and mucous membrane. Can't tell it even mild exercise M generally, just dont really thrive before this surgical treatment was developed.
about a quarter of the babies born with this condition died before their first birthday, almost three leaders died before they were ten, and only about five percent live pass. The age of forty and because their tissues are being deprived of so much oxygen. A lot of those who did survive past infancy, couldn't Walker stand on their own and everyday tasks just required more oxygen and their bodies were getting one other thing. That toxic discovered during her research was that some of your patients fared pretty well in their first days of life then suddenly got worse. She realized. This shift came from the closure of their doctors, Arteriosa S for reference in the womb. A foetus gets oxygen through the umbilical cord rather than by breathing the ducks, Arteriosa isn't vessel that lets circulating blood bypass. The lungs which, at that point, are filled with fluid You're a person is born and starts breathing on their own, the ducks
Arteriosa is typically closes, and until it does because of all the physiological changes going on after birth, some the baby's blood uses it basically as a short cut, allowing extra blood to travel to the lungs. Sometimes the duchess Arteriosa doesn't closed as it causing a condition called Peyton doctors Arteriosa this and in a way with an otherwise healthy functioning heart. This can cause a problem that vessel allows too much blood into the lungs that put more pressure on the heart and it increases blood. or within the pulmonary arteries. But tossing and that in some babies with congenital harsh conditions, Paden Douglas Arteriosa actually helped that x, blood in the lungs was able to absorb a little more oxygen to distribute to the rest of the body. This is technically true for children with technology, a fellow and other scientific conditions
this realization about. The Duc De Arteriosa is also connected to another conclusion that toxic drew during this work. She realised that much of the time congenital heart conditions, weren't fatal because the person's heart failed. It was before Their bodies just were not getting enough oxygen in thirty nine Doktor Robert Gross developed a surgical technique to close a Paden doctors Arteriosa. Yes, he did this work at Boston, children's hostile in conjunction with a pediatrician named John Hubbard. They weren't actually the first ones to do this procedure. That was a meal Carl Fray who did it in Germany the year before they were the first ones to public their work. Bear this. you toss again idea that it it's possible to close a patent doctors Arteriosa that was harming a patient. It might all be possible to build one in a patient who needed in this wouldn't cure, heart condition that was causing the patients. I know says, but it
provide some relief of symptoms, both prolonging the since life and improving their quality of life after here about doktor, grossest surgery, Tausig contacted him to find out whether he would be interested in trying to develop such a procedure. There isn't any correspondence that has survived from this exchange, though it's not a hundred percent clear exactly when it happened, but press responded that he closed this as he did, not build new ones. Then, in nineteen forty one Alfred Blaylock became surgeon in chief of Johns Hopkins and he brought his surgical technician. Vivian Thomas with him in nineteen. Forty two taussig observed from the gallery as Blaylock closed a patent doctors Arteriosa s afterward in her account Tausig approached Blaylock and said I stand in awe and admiration of your surgical skill, but the real
a great day will come when you build a doctor's for a child who is dying of annex Ii Mia and not when you tie off a doctor's for a child who has a little too much blood going to his lungs and bleed. Responded. Women comes this will seem like child's play, for we are going talk about how Blaylock and Thomas developed the surgical procedure in our upcoming so on very Thomas. You will get back to Tausig story after Sponsor break. Hey, I'm Andy, if you don't know me, it's probably because I'm not famous, but I did start and screaming company called Harry's. The idea for Harry's came out of a frustrating experience. I had buying razor blades, most brands were overpriced, over designed and out of touch at Harry's approaches, simple, here's our secret. We may sharp, durable blades and sell them an honest prices for as long as two dollars. Each we care equality. So much that we do some crazy things like fireworks, german blade factory obsessing
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It's because I get scared gargoyle, the bundling, maybe gonna die dotcom today. Here and now, there's technician: billions harness describe, Doktor, Helen Tausig involvement in the surgery that he developed quote. Helen I described her patients and their plight and that no known medical treatment existed. She went on to suggest that there only hope was the type of surgical approach to get more blood to the lungs as a plumber changes, the pipes around factor, Alfred Blaylock, first proof that surgery to change the pipes around on November, ninth of nineteen forty four, and as we noted for the brake, we'll get into the specifics of the surgery and how it was developed in the episode on Vivian Thomas as soon as it was clear that this surgery could allow children with scientific heart conditions to live a longer, healthier life Families rushed to Johns Hopkins for help the earth,
as patients were all referred to, Doktor Blaylock by Doktor Tausig, and for a time she always in the operating room when the surgery was performed. Ass time went on. She would join the team in the operating room for the surgeries. They seemed most complicated or most likely to lead to complications boy Blaylock and Tausig, were part of the patients ongoing followup care. Their success also sparked a huge amount of interest in cardiovascular surgery in general, with all kinds of rapid developments following from their before this point, cardiac surgery. Is a field had barely existed gather idea of operating on the hurt at all was like really taboo topic and blame traveled around the United States and Europe to teach other doctors and surgeons about this procedure, which was soon being called thee. Blaylock, Tausig operation, tausig this is a moral obligation that it was
duty of academic physicians to share knowledge any time they discovered it. She also published a book. Can little malformations of the heart and nineteen forty seven, and that was the first really comprehensive text book about congenital heart disease. Also in the late nineteenth forties, doktor, richer J being established, a cardiac catheter realisation lab at Johns Hopkins Cardiac Hathor relation involves threading a long hollow to through the blood vessels and into the heart to perform diagnostic or treatment procedures, Tausig Bay. And Blaylock use this lab to study technology follow as well as other congenital heart conditions, publishing on at least twenty different types. For involvement in the development of what is now called the Blaylock Thomas Tacit Shunt Tausig soon in demand. As a teacher of other doctors in the newly established specialty of pediatric cardiology, her pediatric cardiology fell
nicknamed themselves. The knights of tausig and doktor tasks started arranging gatherings for them every couple of years that her vacation home on Cape COD gatherings were apart reunion part continuing education, seminar, so to her contributions to a surgery that saved the lives of thousands of babies and children during her career task, their trained more than a hundred and thirty other pediatric cardiologists in team. Forty seven Tausig was awarded the Chevalier D, a lesion Danu, its frame is highest distinction. in nineteen. Fifty four she Alfred Blaylock and Robert Gross were together awarded the Albert Lascaux Award for outstanding contributions to medicine She and Blaylock were also nominated for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, and nine Fifty nine Tausig became the second woman to become a full professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Buddhist for years before her retirement.
When the minds of a lot of observers, it was really long overdue for Tausig part at one point: zero. quote over the years I've gotten recognition for what I did, but I didn't at the time it hurt for awhile hurt when Doktor Blaylock was elected to the National Academy of Arts and sciences, and I didn't even get promoted from assistant to associate professor In January of nineteen sixty two one of Tausig former students wrote to her from Germany about the epidemic of congenital disorders and disabilities that had been TK by the sedative thalidomide as you call. We did a two part podcast on this in August of twenty nineteen at this The little mind had been pulled from the market or made prescription only in many countries, but drug company Merrill still had an application with the food and Drug Administration for its approval in the United States, town decided to travel to Europe herself to evaluate what was happening here.
In Germany on February. First, nineteen sixty two and she spent six weeks travelling to clinics and major cities examining pay hence an interviewing their doctors and families, as well as setting the headquarters of the drug manufacturers involved, and I He was doing this back in the United States. Frances Oldham Kelsey at the FDA, was basically stalling. The drugs application until Tausig could uptake her on what was happening by that I'm tausig got back to the. U S Merrill had pulled its application, but instigations and hearings into what had happened were still ongoing, Tausig has defied before the American College of Physicians. On April, eleventh, nineteen sixty two amber Congress on May twenty. Fourth of that year. She became a huge part of the education campaign to make sure doctors were aware of the dangers of the little mind and to get people to check their medicine cabinets and dispose of any. They might have on hand even Selina mine, had never been approved for use in the United States. It had been
tribute it as samples, and in many cases those SAM I had not been documented or tracked in any way people who travelled to or lived in other countries also brought thalidomide back to the? U S with them as part of all of them. Tausig wrote, numerous opinion, pieces and articles for medical journals, including advocating for better times, the procedures for drugs before they were approved for use. She was one of the big one of trying to make sure people knew the dangers and acted appropriately to to dispose of their medications. Although Tausig formally retired, nineteen sixty three. She kept up an almost full time- patient load, afterward, saying quote now that I'm retired I much too busy to stop working. In addition, continuing to work as a pediatric. Cardiologist In June of that year she was the first recipient of a fellowship established the National Foundation of the March of dimes see
is the money from that fellowship to find a follow up. Study of people who Alfred Blalock had operated on between one thousand nine hundred and forty five and one thousand nine hundred and fifty they tracked down seven hundred seventy nine former patience and she found but more than eighty percent of them had good or excellent long term results from their surgeries by the ninety. Sixties. Hearing aid technology had advanced to the point that tausig have been using much smaller devices that mountain that your piece of her glasses rather and something much larger that she carried around on her neck, and I sixty three. She had a surgical procedure on the state of her left ear, which partially restored her hearing in that year the same procedure on her right ear in nineteen sixty four, although this He had been available earlier than this. She hadn't really wanted to do it. She does see the need for an effective procedure to address something that was not hampering her ability. As a doctor, Tausig had become one of the six,
founding members of the Board of Pediatric cardiology, when it was founded and nineteen sixty one. In nineteen, sixty four President Lyndon Johnson awarded her the presidential metal of freedom, her citation redcoat, physician, physiologist and embryologists her fundamental concepts made possible the modern surgery of the heart which enables countless children to lead productive lives in nineteen sixty five, she became the first woman to as president of the American Heart Association on May twenty fifth nineteen. Seventy, the clinic Johns Hopkins was renamed the Helen be Tausig children's pediatric cardiac centre on May twenty first night, seventy six Johns Hopkins University awarded heard the Milton Stoves Eisenhower Medal for Distinguish service on June nineteen, nineteen seventy seven she was awarded the scientific achievement award from the American Medical Association. your career, she was also awarded more than twenty honorary doctorates, which
Scribe is our highest award, though, was when parents of children she treated later named other children after her towards the end of her life, tausig moves or retirement community in Pennsylvania. She hadn't not married or had children, and she didn't want to become a burden to her friends and colleagues and Baltimore as she aged she kept spending or summers and Cape cod and to study hearts. including studying congenital heart conditions in birds toward the end of life that is fascinating, Doktor Helen Tausig died in a car crash on May twenty of nineteen. Eighty six at the age of eighty seven, the PD drink cardiac centre at Johns Hopkins still bears her name now as the Blaylock Tausig Thomas pediatric and congenital heart centre. So next time, a little bit more about her when we talk about Vivian, Thomas. But in the meantime, DM listener mail I this from Caroline Caroline says and he Caroline and I live in Philadelphia, longtime listener. First time, writer
in the lead up to the federal election, the Mural Arts Programme in Philadelphia has created a beautiful public art installation called to the poles. One of the pieces is up painting of an altar honouring voting rights. Ancestors I got very exe. And when I saw you know, Taro Warren's name a new issue, because of your podcast, am attaching a photo took, although I am regretting not taking a closer picture of the bottom, where the words are so what bottom is in both english and Spanish and in English it says this alter is dedicated to our voting rights. Ancestors IDA be Wells, Barnett Mary Church Tower I'll carry Williams, Clifford Mina, O Warren Mabel Ping, Wily Mary, Louise, but no Baldwin Miguel Trujillo Amity more mega every and apparatus with honour their legacy by exercising their right to vote. Vote for justice vote for our collective liberation. His pieces bike be Alexander gun values. You can see the rest of the paintings here, Caroline included,
linked to that. Thank you. So much for your so on Nina out here, a war in May already: moving peace that much more meaningful. Thank you for all the times. You have helped me heard about someone who made the world better in there Time, but I never knew about in this period of uncertainty. It helps to be reminded that history is made up of a lot of regular people like me, who just chose do the right thing Can you and yours, health and happiness, Caroline think so much Caroline thanks for the link to this, this collection of mural. So it's in Love Park in Philadelphia feel pretty wistful. For a while. I was going to Philadelphia every November when, like my spouse would have a thing he was going to and I would ride along and do If ever I wanted in Philadelphia the whole time I didn't go last year because we have just adopted you baby kittens and I wasn't ready to leave them with a path that are yet and we didn't go this year because everything's cancel because the pandemic but look man. I kind of wish I could just go to Philadelphia. Walk around
third a little bit. The murals are really really Fourthly, we are recording this episode on election day and hopefully, by the time this episode comes out. We, No, no you're outlining yeah, because I dont you and I both lives through these two thousand election year Took a long time, dead fingers crossed fingers. Thank you. Caroline wealth, we'll see, Yes, it's so cool that you know. Tara terawatt is is honoured as part of the it's fantastic yeah, thank you again for sending that methods. Caroline thank you to everybody, Lisbon Summit, face email male lately. If you would like to write to us about this or any other part guesswork history pod, that I hurt radio dot com and then we're all over social media at missed in history. That's real, find our Facebook twitter interest in Instagram anythin subscribe,
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Transcript generated on 2020-11-25.