Medicine: From Blue to Pink

Few developments in surgery have had such public appeal as the "blue-baby" operation, first performed at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1944. Children born with malformed hearts look blue because their blood does not get enough oxygen. They cannot romp like normal youngsters; many of them cannot even walk across a room without huffing and puffing, and have to spend their waking hours in wheelchairs.

When Child Specialist Helen Taussig and Surgeon Alfred Blalock (after years of experiments on animals) worked out a solution to the blue-baby problem, their proposal looked daring indeed: to...

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