When the idea to create the Texas Medical Center first began to percolate in the 1930s, the tract of land that would become the site of so many unimagined medical possibilities was nothing but 134 mosquito-infested acres a few miles south of downtown. It was hard to imagine anything even mildly remarkable coming out of the place, other than a nasty case of malaria.
Yet brilliant people were soon performing near-miraculous medical feats here, their patients surviving accidents, diseases, and conditions that previously would have been a death sentence. It wasn’t long before two legends, Dr. Michael DeBakey and Dr. Denton Cooley, were competing to pull off heart surgeries that read like science fiction as the world watched, awestruck.
The city’s reputation only continued to grow as Dr. Red Duke’s Life Flight toted urgent-care patients across the Texas landscape to Memorial Hermann, sick people from across the world traveled to MD Anderson for innovative cancer treatments and lived, and babies who would not have survived anywhere else got a chance at Texas Children’s.
Today this city is still the heart of medical possibility, a nexus for the excellent physicians included on Houstonia’s annual peer-recommended Top Doctors list, and a place where innovation continues to thrive as new research and state-of-the-art treatments—as evidenced by the incredible stories featured in these pages—make the previously impossible possible. And to think it all started with some swampy land that nobody else wanted.