Helen B. Taussig

Helen Brooke Taussig ( born May 24, 1898 Cambridge (Massachusetts ), † 20 May 1986 as Kennett Square, Chester County ( Pennsylvania)) was an American pediatrician and cardiologist. It is regarded as the founder of the Children's Cardiology in the USA.

Life and work

Taussig was the daughter of economist and Harvard professor Frank William Taussig. After they had overcome a severe dyslexia in her youth, she studied at Radcliffe College and the University of California, Berkeley ( Bachelor 1921). She then studied medicine at Harvard Medical School and Boston University and then specialized at Johns Hopkins University in cardiology. After graduating in 1927, she was director of cardiology at the Harriet Lane Home for Children Johns Hopkins University. In 1930 she was director there. In 1959 she received a full professor at Johns Hopkins ( the first woman ). In 1963 she was officially retired, but remained scientifically active and gave lectures. She died in a car accident when she was driving a friend to a choice.

In her later life she was strong hearing impaired, which is why they read lips met in dealing with their patients and listening in the heart's rhythm with your fingers instead of the stethoscope.

Together with Alfred Blalock ( the head of surgery at the Johns Hopkins ) and Vivien Thomas, she developed at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the Blalock - Taussig operation for the treatment of children, as a result of congenital heart disease (such as a tetralogy of Fallot ) to cyanosis ( oxygen deficiency ) suffer, at that time also called due to the blue color of the affected children ' blue baby syndrome '. The inspiration for the method came from Taussig. The first operation by this method was carried out in 1944.

She also played a key role in the U.S. to an early ban of thalidomide ( Thalidomide ®), the embryo at a phocomelia (fins or Stummelgliedrigkeit ) was noted. To this end, she traveled to Germany in 1962 to study thalidomide cases. For her role in the prohibition of thalidomide in the U.S. ( among other things she said on this issue before the U.S. Congress from ), she received the 1964 Medal of Freedom by the U.S. President.

She was also a pioneer in diagnostic radiology of heart defects ( and lungs ), which she presented in her book Congenital malformations of the Heart.

1948 Taussig with the Passano Award and in 1954 was awarded the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize -. In 1955 she received the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. In 1965 she became the first woman president of the American Heart Association. In 1971, she received the John Howland Award.

One of the colleges of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is named after her (2005) and also the Helen B. Taussig Children's Pediatric Cardiac Center at Johns Hopkins.

Works (selection)

  • Congenital malformations of the heart, two volumes. New York, Commonwealth Fund, 1947. Adjusted edition, 1960-1961.
  • Congenital aneurysmal dilatation of the aorta associated with arachnodactyly. In: Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Vol 72 (1943 ), pp. 309-331 ( with RW Baer and EH Oppenheimer ).
  • Pediatric profiles. In: Journal of Pediatrics, St. Louis, Vol 77 (1979 ), Issue 10, pp. 722-731.
  • The First Full-time Academic Department of Pediatrics. The Story of the Harriet Lane Home. In: Johns Hopkins Medical Journal, Vol 137 (1975), July, pp. 27-47 ( together with A. McGehee Harvey ).