"Something The Lord Made": Summary

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 547 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Sep 16, 2023

Words: 547|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Sep 16, 2023

Table of contents

  1. The Plot
  2. Challenges and Discrimination
  3. Legacy and Impact
  4. Conclusion

Something the Lord Made is a thought-provoking film that chronicles the true story of two medical pioneers, Dr. Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, and their groundbreaking work in the field of cardiac surgery. Set against the backdrop of racial segregation in the mid-20th century United States, the movie explores themes of innovation, determination, and the pervasive discrimination faced by African Americans during that era. This essay provides a summary of this compelling film and its profound implications for medicine and society.

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The Plot

The movie opens in the early 1930s when Vivien Thomas, an African American carpenter, takes a job as a janitor at Vanderbilt University's medical school. Despite his limited education, Thomas possesses an innate talent for surgical techniques and a deep fascination with medicine. He soon catches the attention of Dr. Alfred Blalock, a prominent surgeon, and researcher.

Blalock, recognizing Thomas's potential, hires him as a lab assistant and begins mentoring him. Together, they embark on a journey to solve the complex problem of "blue baby syndrome," a condition in which babies are born with congenital heart defects that limit their oxygen intake. This condition was almost universally fatal at the time.

The duo's collaboration leads to the development of a surgical procedure known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt. This groundbreaking surgery involves creating a connection between a major artery and a pulmonary artery, effectively increasing oxygen flow to the body. Their work revolutionizes the field of cardiac surgery and gives hope to countless children afflicted with the syndrome.

Challenges and Discrimination

Throughout the film, the audience witnesses the immense challenges and discrimination faced by both Thomas and Blalock. Despite his invaluable contributions, Thomas is denied the title of "doctor" due to his lack of formal medical education. He is often treated as a second-class citizen and subjected to racial prejudice, both in the medical community and in society at large.

Blalock, on the other hand, must navigate the difficult terrain of an institution steeped in segregationist practices. He faces backlash and ostracism from some colleagues for his partnership with Thomas and his commitment to advancing medicine regardless of his assistant's race.

Legacy and Impact

Something the Lord Made serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring impact of innovation and perseverance in the face of adversity. The Blalock-Taussig shunt, developed by Blalock and Thomas, laid the foundation for modern cardiac surgery. It not only saved countless lives but also paved the way for further advancements in the field, ultimately benefiting patients of all races.

Moreover, the film sheds light on the harsh reality of racial discrimination in the United States during the mid-20th century. Vivien Thomas's journey from a janitor to a pioneering medical researcher illustrates the immense talent and potential that were often suppressed due to racial prejudice. His story serves as an inspiration and a testament to the importance of recognizing talent and potential in all individuals, regardless of their background.

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Something the Lord Made is a moving and impactful film that not only celebrates the achievements of medical pioneers but also highlights the persistent challenges of discrimination and segregation. It serves as a poignant reminder of the power of collaboration, innovation, and determination in overcoming adversity. The story of Dr. Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas continues to inspire and educate audiences about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of injustice.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

“Something the Lord Made”: Summary. (2023, September 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
““Something the Lord Made”: Summary.” GradesFixer, 16 Sept. 2023,
“Something the Lord Made”: Summary. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
“Something the Lord Made”: Summary [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Sept 16 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
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