Black History Month: The first successful open-heart surgery


    As part of Black History Month, 6 News is celebrating the life of an African-American man from Blair County who changed medicine forever. (WJAC)

    As part of Black History Month, 6 News is celebrating the life of an African-American man from Blair County who changed medicine forever.

    In 1893, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performed the first successful open-heart surgery in the world.

    He was born in Hollidaysburg in 1856.

    Hollidaysburg Mayor Joe Dodson says Dr. Williams followed his father's footsteps and became a barber in Chicago.

    Williams eventually worked his way into Chicago medical school, and later opened a hospital in the city.

    In July of 1893, Doctor Williams performed the first successful open-heart surgery and his patient went on to live another 40 years.

    The president of the Blair County NAACP says he wants younger generations to learn about Dr. Williams' accomplishment as an important part of American history.

    Dr. Williams died in August 1931.

    He was 75-years-old.

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