This week, we travel back 70 years in time with author Thomas Morris to witness one of the greatest surgical feats by an unlikely trio. This story goes to the heart of our slogan: “Sometimes healing can be found in the most unlikely places.” ❤️

author's perspective

As a journalist first and foremost, Thomas Morris has quite the ear for incredible stories. Intrigued by the heart’s intricate, fascinating history, he chronicled his findings in his latest book, The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations. 


"[Alfred] Blalock was lucky in some respects, in that he had a very good result with a lot of his early patients. He was also lucky that he had Vivien Thomas, who had spent so long perfecting the operation, so that when they were ready to do their first case on a human patient—Vivien Thomas had performed the operation hundreds of times.


So when he stood behind Alfred Blalock in the operating theater in Baltimore, he could tell him exactly what he thought of what he was doing; he could give him advice. It was almost as if he had somebody behind him who knew this operation, even though it was the first time it was ever being performed on a human."

"I think it's the sheer courage and the skill involved in this operation—that's what I had not taken in before I looked into it.”- Thomas Morris

Thomas Morris is a writer and medical historian. He worked for the BBC for 17 years making programs for Radio 4 and Radio 3; was the producer of In Our Time; and previously worked on Front Row, Open Book, and The Film Programme. He is now a freelance journalist who has contributed to the Lancet,  Financial Times, Guardian, BBC World Histories magazine, and the Cricketer.


His first book, The Matter of the Heart, a history of heart surgery, was a winner of a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award. He just finished a new book, The Mystery of The Exploding Teeth, forthcoming from Penguin Random House in November 2018. You can find more about his work at and on Twitter @thomasngmorris.

While living in L.A., a workout buddy called David Shakopi and suggested he go to a commercial audition. A  few days later David summoned the courage to go to Beverly a popular Hollywood agent. He introduced himself and she ultimately signed him to his first contract.


Originally from Minnesota, David went on to study acting at UCLA and has since been based in New York City. He performs regularly on stage, having appeared recently in A Man For All Seasons and Born Yesterday. David's recent V.O. credits include work on Ellis Island, Fabuwood Cabinetry, and Phenomenon. Film/TV: 6 Degrees of Murder and Haunted.  You can connect with David at

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