DR. DANIEL HALE WILLIAMS
A pioneer in open-heart surgery was born in
Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Williams attended formal schooling in Hare's
Classical Academy in 1877 and received his M.D. from Chicago Medical College, and
Northwestern Medical School in 1883. He helped to found the Provident Hospital and
Training School for Nurses. In 1893, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performed the first
open-heart surgery by removing a knife from the heart of a stabbing victim. He
sutured a wound to the pericardium (the fluid sac surrounding the myocardium), from which
the patient recovered and lived for several years afterward. He established a
training school for nurses.
He was the first Surgeon in Chief to divide
the Freedmen's Hospital in
Washington, D.C. into separate departments to treat specific conditions: Medical,
Surgical, Gynecological, Obstetrical, Dermatological, Genito-Urinary, and Throat and
Chest. In 1891, he founded the Provident Hospital and Medical
Center in Chicago; the oldest freestanding Black owned hospital in the United
States. Dr. Williams was the only African-American in a group of 100 charter members
of the American college of Surgeons in 1913. He founded and became the first
vice-president of the National Medical Association.
Dr. Williams was awarded by a bill in the United States Congress in 1970 that issued a
commemorative stamp in his honor.
Revised: July 18, 2013.