Daniel Hale Williams

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For other people named Daniel Williams, see Daniel Williams (disambiguation).
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
Daniel Hale Williams.jpg
Born (1856-01-18)January 18, 1856
Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Died August 4, 1931(1931-08-04) (aged 73)
Idlewild, Michigan, USA
Fields Cardiology
Institutions Provident Hospital
Meharry Medical College
Freedman's Hospital
St. Lukes Hospital
Cook County Hospital
Alma mater Chicago Medical College

Daniel Hale Williams (January 18, 1856[1] – August 4, 1931) was an American surgeon. He was an African-American general surgeon, and performed one of the first successful pericardium surgeries.[2][3] He also founded Provident Hospital, the first non-segregated hospital in the United States.[4]

Career[edit]

At the time that he graduated from medical school, black doctors were not allowed to work in Chicago hospitals. As a result, in 1891, Williams started the Provident Hospital (Chicago) and training school for nurses in Chicago, Illinois. This was established mostly for African-American citizens.[5]

Williams was the second to have successfully performed pericardium surgery to repair a wound.[6] Henry Dalton was the first.[6] Dalton successfully performed pericardium surgery a repair a wound in 1891,[6] with the patient fully recovering.[7] Earlier surgeries on the pericardium, which resulted in the death of the patient, were attempted by Francisco Romero in 1801[8] and Dominique Jean Larrey in 1810.[9]

In 1893 Williams repaired the torn pericardium of a knife wound patient, James Cornish, the second on record.[6] Cornish, who was stabbed directly through the left fifth coastal cartilage,[6] had been admitted the previous night and Williams made the decision to operate the next morning in response to continued bleeding, cough and "pronounced" symptoms of shock.[6] He performed this surgery, without the benefit of penicillin or blood transfusion, at Provident Hospital, Chicago, on 10 July 1893,[10] though it would not be reported until 1897.[6] About fifty-five days later, James Cornish had successfully recovered from the surgery.[5] In 1893, during the administration of President Grover Cleveland, Williams was appointed surgeon-in-chief of Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C., a post he held until 1898 when he married and moved to Chicago. In addition to organizing the hospital, Williams also established a training school for African-American nurses at the facility.

Williams was a teacher of Clinical Surgery at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee and was an attending surgeon at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He worked to create more hospitals and for accessibility to African Americans. In 1895 he co-founded the National Medical Association for African American doctors, and in 1913 he became a charter member and the only African American doctor in the American College of Surgeons.

Personal life[edit]

Daniel Hale Williams was born and raised in the city of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. His father, Daniel Hale Williams, Jr. was the son of a black barber and a Scots-Irish woman.[11]

He lived with his father who was a "free negro" barber, his mother, his brother and five sisters and was the fifth child of the family. His family eventually moved to Annapolis, Maryland. Shortly after when Williams was nine, his father died of tuberculosis.[12] Williams' mother realized she could not manage the entire family and sent some of the children to live with relatives. Williams was apprenticed to a shoemaker in Baltimore, Maryland but ran away to join his mother who had moved to Rockford, Illinois. He later moved to Edgerton, Wisconsin, where he joined his sister and opened his own barber shop. After moving to nearby Janesville, Wisconsin, Williams became fascinated with a local physician and decided to follow his path. He began working as an apprentice to Dr. Henry W. Palmer for two years and in 1880 entered Chicago Medical College, now known as Northwestern University Medical School. After graduation from Northwestern in 1883, he opened his own medical office in Chicago, Illinois.[13]

Williams was married in 1898 to Alice Johnson, daughter of sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel and a maid of mixed ancestry.[14] Williams died of a stroke in Idlewild, Michigan on August 4, 1931. His wife, Alice Johnson, had died in 1924.[5]

Legacy[edit]

In the mid-1890s, attempts were made to improve cardiac surgery. The first successful surgery on the heart itself was performed by Norwegian surgeon Axel Cappelen on 4 September 1895 at Rikshospitalet in Kristiania, now Oslo.[15][16] The first successful surgery of the heart, performed without any complications, was by Dr. Ludwig Rehn of Frankfurt, Germany, who repaired a stab wound to the right ventricle on September 7, 1896.[17][18] Despite these improvements, heart-related surgery would not be widely accepted in the field of medical science until World War II broke out and forced surgeons to improve their methods of surgery in order to repair severe war wounds.[19] In spite of the early lack of recognition they received for their surgeries, Dalton and Williams would later receive recognition for their roles in revolutionizing cardiac surgery.[19]

The Stevie Wonder song "Black Man" honors the achievements of Williams, among others.

Tim Reid Plays Dr. Williams in Sister, Sister (TV series) season 5 episode 18 "I Have a Dream" (February 25, 1998)

In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Daniel Hale Williams on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.[20]

He received honorary degrees from Howard and Wilberforce Universities, was named a charter member of the American College of surgeons and was a member of the Chicago Surgical Society.

A Pennsylvania State Historical Marker was placed at U.S. Route 22 eastbound (Blair St., 300 block), Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania commemorating his accomplishments and marking his boyhood home.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Although a half dozen biographical dictionaries place Daniel Hale Williams's birth date in 1858, I use 1858, which is the date given in the U. S. Census records of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, for 1860 and of Janesville, Wisconsin, for 1880; these agree on 1856, and the former was given by his parents. Also when Dr. Dan registered officially with the Illinois State Board of Health as a physician, on April 18, 1883, he gave his age as twenty-eight. This too points to 1856, making him at his registration twenty-seven years and three months old, or in his twenty-eighth year." Buckler, Helen Daniel Hale Williams: Negro Surgeon Pitman Publishing Company 1954 pp287-288. Full text at http://www.archive.org/stream/danielhalfwillia013550mbp/danielhalfwillia013550mbp_djvu.txt
  2. ^ A Century of Black Surgeons, The U.S.A. Experience, Organ, Claude, Chapter 8, page 311 Daniel Hale Williams, MD; Transcript Press,Norman OK, 1987 ISBN 0-9617380-0-6
  3. ^ Weisse, Allen B. (2011). "Cardiac Surgery: A Century of Progress". Texas Heart Institute Journal 38 (5 pages=486-490 url=http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3231540/). 
  4. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica (2008). "Reference Room: Daniel Hale Williams". African American World. PBS. Archived from the original on 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  5. ^ a b c "Daniel Hale Williams". The Black Inventor Online Museum. Retrieved 4 May 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Shumacker, Harris B. (1992). The Evolution of Cardiac Surgery. Indiana University Press. p. 12. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  7. ^ Wood, Horatio C. (1895). American Medico-surgical Bulletin. Bulletin Publishing Company. p. 306. Retrieved 2013-08-29. 
  8. ^ Francisco Romero, the first heart surgeon Aris A., Ann Thorac Surg. 1997 Sep;64(3):870-1. Accessed November 29, 2013
  9. ^ When did cardiac surgery begin? Harris B. Shumacker, J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 1989 Mar-Apr;30(2):246-9, Accessed November 29, 2013
  10. ^ "History: Provident Hospital- The Provident Foundation". The Provident Foundation. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  11. ^ Bigelow (1992), p. 254
  12. ^ "http://www.providentfoundation.org/history/williams.html, First Open Heart Surgeon". History: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  13. ^ "Daniel Hale Williams". The Black Inventor Online Museum. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Washington, Booker Taliaferro; Harlan, Louis R. (ed.) (1907). The Booker T. Washington Papers. vol.9: 1906-1908 (The Open Book edition ed.). Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 396,. OCLC 58644475. 
  15. ^ Westaby, Stephen; Bosher, Cecil. Landmarks in Cardiac Surgery. ISBN 1-899066-54-3. 
  16. ^ Baksaas ST, Solberg S (January 2003). "Verdens første hjerteoperasjon". Tidsskr Nor Lægeforen 123 (2): 202–4. 
  17. ^ Absolon KB, Naficy MA (2002). First successful cardiac operation in a human, 1896: a documentation: the life, the times, and the work of Ludwig Rehn (1849–1930). Rockville, MD : Kabel, 2002
  18. ^ Johnson SL (1970). History of Cardiac Surgery, 1896–1955. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. p. 5.
  19. ^ a b American Experience. "Timeline:Heart in History". PBS.com. Retrieved November 30, 2013. 
  20. ^ Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, New York. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-963-8.
  21. ^ http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM426N_Daniel_Hale_Williams

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bigelow, Barbara Carlisle, Contemporary Black biography: profiles from the international Black community, Gale Research Inc., 1992, ISBN 0-8103-8554-6

Further reading[edit]

  • Yenser, Thomas (1933). Who's Who in Colored America: 1930-1931-1932. Brooklyn: T. Yenser. OCLC 26073112. 
  • Buckler, Helen (1968). Daniel Hale Williams: Negro Surgeon. New York: Pitman. OCLC 220544784. 
  • Chenrow, Fred; Chenrow, Carol (1973). Reading Exercises in Black History, Volume 1. Elizabethtown, PA: The Continental Press, Inc. p. 60. ISBN 08454-2107-7.

External links[edit]