In an instant, your life can change forever. Ask anyone who has survived a traumatic injury. Most of us don't think much about trauma care in our everyday lives, maybe because by its nature, traumatic injury is just too unexpected to conceive, seeming too much a matter of cruel fate, or just something that is so entirely preventable, we think it could never happen to us or those we love. But it does. According to the American College of Surgeons (ACS), a trauma occurs every four seconds in the United States. The statistics are staggering. From a horrific car accident out of the blue on a sunny afternoon, to a fall from a ladder while working around the house, to an accidental fire that on one could have foreseen – traumatic injury remains the leading cause of death and disability for Americans under the age of 44.
Since trauma typically kills or disables the young during what could be considered the most productive years of life, it is estimated that the costs to society are approximately $133 billion annually. Ensuring that trauma victims get the appropriate level of care as quickly as possible is paramount to their survival and recovery. Research consistently shows that mortality rates increase by 20 percent when a seriously injured patient is not treated at a trauma center
In the Greater Houston area, which is comprised of nearly 7 million residents, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center serves as one of two Level I adult and pediatric trauma centers. The ACS recommends at least one Level I Trauma Center for every 1 million people in any populated area. Despite the disproportionate ratio of the area’s population to the number of Level I Trauma Centers, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital remain committed to providing the best possible care for trauma patients.
Perhaps no other institution in the Texas Medical Center has retained such a singular identity of purpose and service to our community as that of trauma services at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. There is a rich history, as much a part of the fabric of our lives here as the space shuttle or the rodeo. From the awe-inspiring view of Life Flight® racing across the sky on yet another life-saving mission, to the incomparable father of trauma for our city, James “Red” Duke, Jr., M.D., who still works today caring for the trauma patients, we are a city of great promise and achievement. We are fortunate to have at our disposal one of the finest trauma programs in the world.
However, it takes a monumental about of resources, both private and public, to ensure our community has the level of care necessary for those who need it. In 2012, built on a foundation of long-term collaboration between the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Campus, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) Medical School, the Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute was established. The Institute brings together a world-class team of clinicians, researchers and educators with the latest in research and technology to deliver its mission to provide comprehensive, life-saving services to the residents of the Gulf Coast region.