top of page

The Queen of CHD Legacy: Helen Taussig lives on

Updated: Jul 25, 2021

Before a congenital heart defect or disease term was used, they referred to CHD babies as "blue babies" or with "blue baby syndrome" because we were born with blue lips and fingernails, which is called cyanosis.

In my book I briefly share the story of my Grandfather's sister who was born in the 1920's who then quickly passed away - cause of death being a "blue baby." We will never know if she also had HLHS like me or another CHD. She is still today the only relative on both sides born with a heart condition. In my book you will see how this affected my Grandfather's love and strong protection for me.

*Photo is a favorite of us - I cut it out to put in a scrap book I made for him

"Taussig was particularly interested in “blue baby syndrome,” or cyanotic patients, named for the blue-toned color of their skin. These children often died as infants, and those that survived were confined to wheelchairs." (Women In Science: Helen Taussig)

Happy Birthday to the Queen of CHD: Helen B. Taussig!

I refer to her as THE QUEEN OF CHD (Legacy) because without her determination and interest to figure out the next generation of CHD and how to keep us alive, I wouldn't be here.

She is the first woman in the CHD World to leave her Legacy, which is everything I have built this CHD LEGACY platform, publishing company, and many years of Advocacy work around.

Taussig's gifts, genius, relentless fight, & collaboration with Thomas and Blalock began the CHD ripple effect forever! ("CHD ripple effect" was one of my first phrases I used as an Advocate back in the early 2000's)

"Taussig was seemingly unstoppable. At 32 years old she was running one of the first pediatric cardiac clinics at one of the best hospitals in the country. It was at this point in her life that she began to lose her hearing, and was robbed of the ability to listen to her patients’ heartbeat.

Luckily, her genius had not gone unnoticed. Taussig had been working in the adult heart clinic run by Dr. Edward Perkins Carter. When she was denied the internship, Carter offered her an extra year at the heart clinic, where she improved her knowledge and skills in cardiology.

Taussig was particularly interested in “blue baby syndrome,” or cyanotic patients, named for the blue-toned color of their skin. These children often died as infants... The first operation was performed in November 1944, on a cyanotic 15-month old child. No one expected this surgery to work. It was an incredibly delicate, complicated procedure, involving the joining of the pulmonary artery to a systemic artery carrying oxygenated blood. Vivien Thomas was the only person that had performed the entire procedure, and he had been practicing on dogs with vessels twice the size of the sick child.

Sadly, Thomas was not included as a co-author, and was not given public recognition for his pivotal role in the development of the technique. As a black man in the 1940s, he was pushed aside, his heroic acts forgotten in the aftermath of their success. But let’s be absolutely clear: Although Taussig suggested the surgery, and Blalock performed it, the surgery never would have happened without Thomas’ rigorous research and surgical expertise.

Dr. Helen Brooke Taussig was born May 24, 1898 in Cambridge, Massachusetts."

Amazing Article! I strongly encourage you to read in full: HERE

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Helen!!

36 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page