Daniel Hale Williams: A Lifesaver at Heart - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Daniel Hale Williams: A Lifesaver at Heart

From the U.S. Census Bureau

On a hot summer night in Chicago, in 1893, a deliveryman was rushed to the emergency room of Provident Hospital. He had been stabbed in the heart in a barroom brawl.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, an African American, was on duty. With the patient's life ebbing, Williams decided to surgically repair the torn heart tissue. In doing so, he made history as the first doctor to successfully perform open heart surgery.

The patient went on to live another 20 years. Dr. Williams became one of the 100 charter members of the American College of Surgeons in 1913.

Today in the U.S., there are 761,000 physicians, 6 percent of them African American.

This profile is adapted from Profile America, a radio series produced by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2004.

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