The Birth of the Texas Medical Center

A Personal Account

978-1-58544-333-8 Cloth
6.125 x 9.25. 264 pp. 25 b&w photos., 1 table.
Pub Date: 11/09/2004
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A world-renowned medical complex, the Texas Medical Center handles more than five million patient visits each year. Its forty member institutions include two medical schools, four schools of nursing, and thirteen hospitals. Its one hundred permanent buildings sprawl across more than 740 acres near downtown Houston.

Houston has watched the institution grow and thrive in the many years since its birth and has reaped enormous economic rewards from hosting it. The determination and innovation of a few key individuals made it all possible. This is the story of one of them, dentist Frederick C. Elliot. A modest, hard-working individual, Dr. Elliot labored behind the scenes to help breathe life into the dream of a multi-specialty, multi-institutional medical complex. The Birth of the Texas Medical Center presents his eyewitness account of the creation of this medical wonder.

Before World War II, Houston was home to many outstanding individual doctors, but no comprehensive, synergistic system existed to focus their collective efforts. Through the time and vision Elliot and others put into building the Texas Medical Center, these individual doctors found a forum in which to learn from one another and to exchange ideas and techniques that would change the way the art of medicine was taught and practiced.

In his autobiography, skillfully honed and edited by historian William H. Kellar, Elliot relates his perspective on the founding of the Texas Medical Center. He details the political struggles of finding funding and property for the building of the center, as well as conflicts that arose among the founders regarding innovative techniques and treatments, and procedures for inter-institutional cooperation. Elliot provides realistic portraits of the medical men, educators, and businessmen who worked together—and sometimes quarreled—to bring the Medical Center into being. His story reveals the human side of a huge and dynamic institution.

This book is sure to appeal to anyone interested in the history of Houston and its famous Texas Medical Center, which has become a model for the world.

Kenneth E. Montague Series in Oil and Business History

Published by Texas A&M University Press