Something the lord made | the movie spoiler | plot summary | movie synopsis.
Something the lord made is an inspirational film that tells the story of Dr. Vivian Thomas. How a man who studied only up to high school made his valuable contribution to the field of medicine.
The story of the film begins in late 1920s. In that era, the discrimination based on colour in America was at its peak. Young Vivian Thomas was working as a carpenter in an under-construction building. He was a high school student who wanted to go to college. He was working for his college tuition fees. His father was also a carpenter, taught him very well. One day his supervisor comes to him, pays his daily wages and says that you do good work, but I have to support the other workers too, as they have a family. He then fires him.
Now a friend of Vivian tells him about a new job at a lab run by one young surgeon named Dr Alfred Blalock. Dr Blalock speaks to Vivian and says.
Dr Blalock: We do medical research on shock in this lab. We bring dogs from a nearby dog house, experiment on them, study their conditions and publish our results. You have to clean the lab daily, feed the dogs on time and walk them. Basically, we need a janitor.
Vivian accepts that job. Now, while working in the Lab, Vivian reads all medical books. He learns all the procedure to conduct the experiments. He has now completed the high school, but still had no money to go to college, so he continues his work at the lab. Dr Blalock also notice his interest, and he encourages him actively. His hands were very strong bcz of carpentry, he could handle tough procedures. Dr Blalock teaches him all procedures. Vivian also learns everything with great interest. In a few months, he starts doing the entire experiments of the lab on his own, conducting them, noting the results and filing the report.
In between Vivian marries Clara. When his life was going well, on September 29, 1929, the U.S. stock market crashes and the Great Depression begins. The bank in which he kept all of his college money goes under bankruptcy. His plan to go to college was also over now. Vivian's father, brother Harold, and the rest of The Family Members actively supports him.
For the next many years, Vivian and Dr. Blalock works together in the lab and continues to conduct the systematic research. Dr Blalock now had full confidence in Vivian's knowledge and skills, that’s why he started acting as a supervisor. Dr Blalock gives a white coat to Vivian symbolizing that he is equal to a lab technician, in experience.
Baltimore was a broken cosmopolitan. Inflation was too high. Vivian and Clara were having trouble getting into this big city. Baltimore was infamous at that time for racism. Dr. Blalock and Vivian, when they go to the hospital from the front door, the doctor shows him the portraits of all the great doctors in the Hall of Fame. There, Was the potrait of Jhon’s Hopkins himself who started the hospital, Sir Wilium Osler, Father of American Medicine, etc.
It is only then that the hospital security says that black people are supposed to come from the back door. Dr Blalock tries to convince him, but fails. On his 1st day at job, Vivian wears his white coat and walk like a regular guy, everyone at the hospital feels astonished, in their entire life they never saw a coloured man walking with white coat. So far, black people used to be janitors, there ware no black doctors, no black technicians. Vivian was the 1st official black lab technician. Since he had no official degree of a lab technician, the hospital allotted him the job classification of janitor only, like the rest of other black staff. Vivian initially didn’t know that.
In meantime Claire complains that Baltimore is way more expensive, where it is getting difficult for her and her children to adjust. Vivian says Dr Blalock had received offers from many hospitals, but he refused many of them bcz they did not wanted him. He says when I started work. I was just a janitor, but today I am the lab assistant to the chief of surgery in one of country's best hospital. He convinces clara to adjust to new life. To earn the extra buck he starts to all odd jobs he can like working as plumber in his apartment, as a waiter in Dr Blalock's parties.
In easy language, there are two parts in a normal heart. The left side and the right side, both side are separated by a fine membrane. The heart is basically a pump which always pumps blood. All the oxygenated blood coming from the body first goes to the right side of the heart from there it gets pumped into lungs. When we inhale the oxygen from the nose, it goes to lungs. In lungs the chemical exchange happens. oxygen enters the blood and carbon dioxide goes out. This oxidised blood from the lungs goes to the left part of the heart from there it gets pumped to rest on the body. These processes continues.
There are four main reasons for different heart condition in blue baby patients. One of the main reasons is caused by a hole in the membrane that separates the left from the right. When there is a hole in the membrane, some part of the blood which gets pumped to the lungs from the right side flows directly to the left side. This is a de-oxygenated blood hence carries no oxygen, when such blood is pumped from the left side to rest of the body it reduces overall oxygen level.
Dr. Helen forces Dr. Blalock to accept this challenge. Until 1940 surgery on heart was written off. The popular belief in the medical fraternity was in order to conduct a surgery. You have to stop the heart for at least three minutes by that time patient dies hence it was taught in all the medical schools not to touch the heart.
Dr. Helen recently got a new case. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Saxon. She was already of pale blue colour. She didn't have much time. Now Vivian and Dr.Blalock starts their research. First they desides to induce the effect of the blue baby syndrome in a healthy dog, study its effects, after that find the surgical cure. After America entered WW2 in 1941, hospitals where filled up with injured soldiers. Dr. Blalock too was busy in regular operations hence he was not able to give much time to medical research. All the responsibility of conducting a heavy research fell on the shoulders of Vivian.
Vivian now starts to study the heart defect of blue babes. It was no easy task to induce the exact effect of blue babe syndrome in a healthy dog. It took 7 months and 200 unsuccessful dogs to arrive at the solution. Vivian was no veterinary doctor, but due to his experience with dogs in Nashville he was able to successfully induce that effect. He invented many surgical instruments, many surgical techniques, he worked 10-12 hrs a day, he was so well versed with dogs treatment that a local dog house asked him to volunteer every weekend to do the surgery on dogs. Dr Longmore who was a resident of Dr. Blalock also wished to learn all these new techniques from him.
On knowing his job classification and salary are the same as that of other janitors, Vivian gets furious. He demands Dr. Blalock that he should be given a higher salary and a job classification of lab technician. He threatens to quit the job and go back to Nashville. Dr. Blalock talks with the chairman of the hospitals and asks for a raise. The hospital chairman suggests him to hire a new educated, college graduate. Dr. Blalock insists that he wants Vivian, he says he was good listener, works really hard and has tons of experience. The hospital finally agrees to hire Vivian as a lab technician ignoring all hiring rules.
Now Dr. Blalock suggest a new method to get more oxygen in the blood. he says the blood that comes from the left side of the heart if we rewire it to the right side through a stunt then we can give more oxygen to the right side of the heart. Then the right side of the heart will pump more blood to the lungs, once the lungs start exchanging more oxygen, more oxygen will circulate in the body. Vivian now tries this new method after few days of hard work and failure, finally he was able to create more oxygen in dog's body. Dr. Blalock checks that and says “ Did you really did that Vivian? It's looks like something the Lord made.
Now Dr. Blalock and Vivian explains their research to Dr Helen. All the three now do the same experiment on another dog. This time Dr. Blalock performs the surgery while Vivian standing next to him explains all the procedures in detail.The operation was successful and now they were ready to perform the same operation on Saxon baby.
Dr. Blalock now explains the Procedure to Mr. and Mrs. Saxon and all the risk associated with it. Since their was no other option they agree for the operation.
After checking Dr Longmore informs Dr. Blalock that the hospital. Administration is not allowing Vivian in to OT as he is not a doctor or nurse. Dr. Blalock furiously announces Vivian to come to OT. When he arrives at the OT, Dr. Blalock tells him to stand beside him and instruct him all the procedures step by step.
Vivian does the same. When Dr. Blalock connects the left side of the heart to the right side of the heart, the baby skin colour starts to change from blue to pink. Everybody in the room starts to rejoice. It was the first successful heart operation in the world. Everyone Saxon parents, the staff at the hospital, Dr. Blalock and his wife, Vivian everyone was happy.
Dr. Blalock appreciates the skills of Vivian. In the newspapers and Time magazine, articles were written about the first successful heart operation. But the name of Vivian Thomas was nowhere. Dr Blalock and Dr Helen were credited with the discovery of the stunt hence it was named after them, “ B-T stunt”. Clara give some solace to Vivian.
The cure for blue baby syndrome spread like a wild fire. The hospital was flooded with patients. Dr Blalock and Vivian conduct hundreds of operations. Doctors from all over the world observers the operation.
At the white only felicitation function, Dr Blalock was felicitated thanked by many donors of the hospital. Dr Blalock acknowledges everyone contribution but Vivian’s. Vivian was attending that function as a waiter, he hoped that at least Dr Blalock would appreciate his contribution publicly. Knowing that now that was not going to happen next day he resigns from his job.
Dr Blalock tries to convince him. He says he was not responsible for not allowing to the function. He was not responsible for all the racism in the society. But Vivian was adamant, he felt let down, so finally resigns.
Now Vivian stars to work as a medical representative. All the Black doctors who knew Vivian from operation tries to help him the best they can. After some time Vivian and Clara visit their parents at Nashville. Harold was also there, he won his famous case at SC.
After some time, Vivian says to Clara that his mind is still in that lab of Dr Blalock. His life work is there in that lab. So he has decided to get that old job back. Vivian says sorry to Dr Blalock and gets his old job back.
The story of the film jumps 20 years forward. The year was 1964 the Civil Rights Movement was at its peak. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was conducting mass protests against racism in America. Racism was slowly and steadily going away from all the public places. At John's Hopkins Vivian was now allowed to enter the hospital from the front door.
Vivian was now made in charge of all the labs at the hospital. He was the director of laboratory. His job was to teach the surgery to young trainee doctors.
One day Dr Blalock now critical in health, visits Vivian and says sorry for not firmly supporting him in all those years. Dr Blalock never openly said anything about racism, and he felt sorry about that. Dr Blalock’s portrait was now “In The Hall Of Fame.” After some day Dr Blalock dies.
Dr Vivian Thomas died in 1985. He was known as the best lab instructor in the world. He invented many surgical instruments, surgical techniques, he over come social injustice with shear will power. This film bagged a lot of awards and is considered as one of the best inspirational movies.
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