Texas & The Medical Industry

How Texas Has Helped Shape the Medical Industry

In celebration of Texas Independence Day, there’s a lot to be proud of. Texas has a rich and storied history and has been responsible for more than its fair share of important United States personnel. Something that often gets downplayed, however, is the effect that Texas has had on the medical industry. While innovation in the medical industry is spread throughout the world, Texas has been able to contribute heartily. From famous outlaw doctors to cutting-edge technology, Texas has helped shape the medical industry into what it is today, and what it will be tomorrow.

Doctor James “Red” Duke

Born in Ennis, Doctor James Duke was a sight to be seen. We don’t often think of doctors in the same vein as superstars, and cowboys, but James “Red” Duke was absolutely that. A professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Red was loved for his charisma. At the age of 44, Red began practicing in at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in 1972, where patients would often remark about his demeanor. A graduate of Texas A&M, Red would go on to work at several colleges across Texas and become a founder of American Trauma Society. At the time, he was one of the best trauma surgeons in the world, and certainly the best professor.

While sculpting the minds of medical students in Texas, Red was tapped by television producers. He began hosting a show called Texas Health Reports, or Dr. Red Duke’s Health Reports, which was nationally syndicated. The show was loved by many television viewers and paved the way for the Doctor Ozs of today. He would later go on to host Body Report on PBS, reaching millions of viewers.

Unfortunately, Red passed away in 2015. Since his passing, he’s been recognized by a variety of institutions for his contributions to the medical field. In many ways, he’s considered the first celebrity of the medical industry.

Doctor Denton Cooley

Born not long before Red in 1920, Denton Cooley was a Houston boy through and through. He was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, the Texas Cowboys, and his collegiate basketball team. Majoring in zoology, Colley became interested in surgery after learning about it in a few pre-medical classes he had to take for his major. He then switched majors, heading to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and went on to complete his doctorate at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Maryland. There he worked on a procedure referred to as the “Blue Baby,” which was the first procedure to ever correct a congenital heart defect in an infant. A congenital heart defect is a structural problem in the heart, causing it to work incorrectly, leading to an early death. It’s detectable at birth but was impossible to fix in an infant until that procedure.

After his groundbreaking education, Cooley would go on to serve in the Army Medical Corps. There he achieved the rank of captain and was discharged in 1948. After completing his internship at Johns Hopkins, he would return to Houston to become an associate professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. At Baylor, he performed research that would develop a new method of removing aortic aneurysms, making the procedure more safe, and effective. In 1962, he moved on to form the Texas Heart Institute.

Most importantly, though, in 1969, Cooley became the first surgeon to implant an entirely artificial heart. One year after that procedure, at the age of 50, Cooley performed the same procedure, with no other heart available. Cooley, unfortunately, passed away in 2016, at the age of 96.

The Texas Medical Center

Doctors aren’t the only ones who make history. The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world. Serving 10 million patients a year, the Texas Medical Center is breaking ground nearly 24/7. The Texas Medical Center is ever expanding, as well. Delivering 25,000 babies a year isn’t the only way they look forward to the future — they’re currently working on 3 billion dollars worth of projects.

San Antonio and Medical Technology

If the Texas Medical Center weren’t enough, Texas is also shaping the medical industry by way of San Antonio. San Antonio was recently named the best place to live for anyone looking for employment in the medical industry, and it’s no surprise. In 2013, San Antonio medical research centers had received more than $325 million in grants.

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