Williams, Daniel Hale (b.
The son of a barber, Daniel Hale Williams lived on
his own after the age of 12. As a youth, he worked as a shoemaker, a roustabout
on a lake steamer, and a barber. Moving with his sister to
Graduating with an M.D. in 1883, Williams opened a
medical practice on the South Side of Chicago,
Illinois. An adept doctor, he served as
an attending physician at the Protestant Orphan Asylum and as a surgeon at the
South Side Dispensary. Williams also worked as a clinical instructor at the
Williams accomplished this in a time and place where
African Americans were not permitted hospital staff positions or allowed the
use of equipment at area hospitals. African American women were also barred
from the nurses' training programs at these hospitals. In response to these
circumstances, Williams founded
Reorganizing the hospital into departments,
reestablishing a nurses' training school, and developing an internship program,
Williams brought new life to the hospital. He returned to
The feat for which Williams is most known was the successful surgery he performed on James Cornish in 1893. Cornish, a street tough, had been stabbed in the chest. After the external wounds were sewn up, Cornish's condition continued to deteriorate. Concluding that Cornish was bleeding internally, Williams decided to open his chest cavity and try to stop the bleeding. Finding the knife had slashed an artery and tissue around the heart, Williams used catgut thread to sew up these internal wounds. The operation was a success and Cornish lived another 20 years, making Williams the first physician to perform successful open-heart surgery.
"Williams, Daniel Hale," Microsoft® Encarta® Africana. ©&(p) 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.