Taussig, Helen

Taussig, Helen (b. Brooke)

(1898–1986) physician; born in Cambridge, Mass. Specializing in congenital malformations of the heart, she is best known as codeveloper of the famous "blue-baby" operation (1944) along with the late Dr. Alfred Blalock. The Blalock/Taussig procedure helped pave the way for open heart surgery using the heart-lung machine, accounting for major progress in cardiac surgery. She was also instrumental in blocking the use of thalidomide in the United States. She conducted her research both at Harriet Lane Home, Baltimore—where she was the physician in charge of the children's cardiac clinic (1930–63)—and concurrently as a member of the Johns Hopkins medical school faculty (1930–63) where she was named professor emeritus of pediatrics (1963–86). As caring a physician as she was an exacting researcher, she followed her cardiac patients into adulthood and remained concerned for their well-being. A National Academy of Sciences member, she received over 20 honorary degrees.
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