Something the Lord Made | Article written by Justin Gamache®, B.S., M.Ed.

Something the Lord Made

            A true story about two men who defied the art of medicine to launch a medical revolution. The start of the film began in a time frame that was tough on race, and how Dr. Alfred Blalock learned from Vivian Thomas a man who had the eye sight of intuition to solve mysteries like the blue baby case. The two saved thousands of lives with a new field technique and changed the world forever.

How does the Depiction of the True Story Reflect Servant Leadership?

            There were a few issues going on during this time frame, based in the 1940’s starting out into the 1960’s. This true story reflects servant leadership by the exemplified model of seeing an individual’s work that would change the lives of thousands, and the act of care a doctor puts into his job. This also shows the difficult time where race was one of the biggest issues, Dr. Blalock having to face caring for his own kind without being able to fully recognize the true brains behind the case, but later defied all odds to recognize a man who never took a class in life. The depiction of servant leadership is the relationships that were built and formed through the characters, and the promotion of growth. While Dr. Blalock promoted Vivian growth, Vivian was Blalock’s leader. “The Servant leader is servant first” (Greenleaf, 2002, p. 27), and Blalock recognized Vivian as this leader. These two men went on to serve the public for the common good so that men, women, and children could become healthier.

Vivien Thomas (Servant Leader)

            I chose Vivian because he exhibits servant leadership, and cares for what he is doing. Vivien even announces he loves the work and continues even know he isn’t getting paid as much as the other doctors. To me, this character fits the characteristics of servant leadership because of his teaching capabilities, care, faith, love, understanding how things work, and developing new techniques to save people’s lives. While Thomas is black and poor, a skilled carpenter, and the time frame he isn’t bothered about the current era epidemic with race but is more inclined to a better to show others what he can do with his skills in medical. Through this film, I noticed that Vivien has great observations skills which are a major role as servant leadership. He also recorded his techniques on paper which helped the future of medicine.

Two Examples of Servant Leadership

            The first example of servant leadership was how Dr. Blalock sought advice from Vivien and recognized that this individual who came in as a janitor to clean had skills. Recognizing Vivien influenced him to be inspired to carry on with his work, and learn the art of medicine to help people. Although it did take many years, Vivien was finally recognized with an honorary doctorate degree.

The second example is the acts that Vivien took to teach medicine, not only did he teach others but he provided a new technique that had revolutionized the practice of medicine. The blue baby case was the first, and without Vivien’s idea, Dr. Blalock wouldn’t have been able to solve this great mystery. While Dr. Blalock promoted Vivien’s growth, Vivien promoted Dr. Blalock’s growth. In the end, Vivien influenced people with his techniques and taught thousands. Vivien cares about his job and wanted to make a difference to better the health of everyone, this is true servant leadership.




Drake, M., Krainin, J. (Producer), & Sargent, J. (Director). (2004). Something the lord made [DVD]. United States: HBO Films.

Greenleaf, R. K. (2002).  Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York, NY: Paulist Press.