Let us give a hearty applause to the first African-American cardiologist, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.
Dr. Williams is credited with performing the first successful surgery on an organ we should all value more, the heart. James Cornish was stabbed in the chest in a bar fight but got a second lease on life (fifty more years) when Dr. Williams was able to stitch the pericardium of his still beating, yet bleeding heart. The successful open heart surgery was performed in 1893 long before heart surgery was accepted and established.
It so happens that February is not only Black History Month but is also American Heart Month. Studies have shown that heart disease and strokes are the top killers for African-Americans, Native Americans, Whites, and Hispanics. However, death rates from heart disease and stroke are highest among African-Americans. Sadly, the statistics are not only a part of Black history, but also a part of our present reality. Please, let us eat better and exercise so that we can have a little more heart.
Dr. Williams also founded the first non-segregated hospital in America, which was named Provident. Provident would also be a first for hosting the first nursing school for African-Americans. My mother and two sisters are nurses today so I personally thank Dr. Daniel Hale Williams for his contributions.
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