Dr. Daniel Hale Williams


First Open Heart Surgery Performed By A Black Physician

Daniel Hale Williams

Daniel Hale Williams, c. 1900

If you or a family member have had successfull heart surgery; perhaps some thanks should go to Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.  A Black surgeon who on July 9, 1893,  performed the first successful open heart surgery on James Cornish who had been admitted to the hospital after being stabbed in the chest.  The surgery was performed at Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Chicago, Illinois.  Provident was founded by Dr. Williams on May 4, 1891 as the nations first interracial hospital and nursing school.  Two years later the hospital and Dr. Williams would be etched into history after this groundbreaking surgery.


Dr. Williams repaired a severed artery and a gash in the pericardium, the sac that encloses the heart.   James Cornish was released from the hospital 51 days after surgery and lived for decades after the incident.   Dr. Williams was born on January 18, 1856 in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania and died on August 4, 1931 in Idlewild, Michigan at age 75.  He was married to Alice Johnson.

Today’s “Provident Hospital Of Cook County”

Provident Hospital of Cook County

              formerly Provident Hospital and Training School (Founded By Dr. Daniel Hale Williams).

Words That Matter

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams

A people who don't make provision for their own sick and suffering are not worthy of civilization.”

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