Taussig, Helen Brooke

Taussig, Helen Brooke

biographical name

(born May 24, 1898, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.—died May 20, 1986, Kennett Square, Pa.) U.S. physician. She received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1927. As head of a Baltimore heart clinic (1930–63), she studied “blue babies” (babies whose heart malformations cause low blood oxygen content) and pioneered use of fluoroscopy and X rays to pinpoint the defect responsible for each set of symptoms. The surgical treatment she devised with Alfred Blalock saved thousands of such infants, and her research spurred development of other surgical treatments for heart disorders. Her Congenital Malformations of the Heart (2 vol., 1947) comprehensively described heart defects and diagnostic tools, techniques, and findings. She also played a key role in alerting U.S. physicians to the dangers of thalidomide.

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