Helen Taussig wanted to be a doctor. So after graduating from UC Berkeley in 1921, she tried to enroll in medical school.
Most universities at the time wouldn’t accept a woman. Johns Hopkins did. She was admitted and in 1927 she became a doctor there.
Helen became a pioneer in her field, conducting extensive research in multiple areas, but becoming well known in her work with Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas to develop a treatment for “blue baby syndrome.”
Later in her career, Helen became deaf. But again she found a way. “She learned to use lip-reading techniques and hearing aids to speak with her patients, and her fingers rather than a stethoscope to feel the rhythm of their heartbeats and to lip read.”
Helen went on to earn more than 20 honorary degrees and many awards and continued to conduct research even after retiring from the university.