At the Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, we focus on optimizing the multidisciplinary care of critically ill and injured patients in order to achieve high-quality outcomes. We bring together specialists from multiple complementary services and disciplines to collaborate for the efficient coordination of care: from pre-hospital personnel to rapid triage, resuscitation, and work-up of traumatically injured patients; critical care of traumatically injured patients; and early rehabilitation. We also offer specialized care of geriatric patients, and other subgroups at a higher risk of poor outcomes.

Acute Care Surgery

Acute Care Surgery (ACS) is a developing field of surgery that takes the principles of trauma care and applies them to patients with other life-threatening, time-sensitive conditions. In some cases, techniques and best practices from combat casualty care and other military medical applications are adapted for use in civilian care to help improve patient outcomes.

Some instances when acute care surgery may be necessary include:

  • Management of traumatically injured patients, including those who are burned
  • Non-trauma patients requiring operations for life- or limb-threatening conditions
  • Patients suffering from shock, severe sepsis, respiratory failure or advanced multi-organ failure
  • Critically ill surgical patients requiring intensive care

Level I trauma centers such as the Red Duke Trauma Institute are able to provide acute care surgical services due to the availability of advanced infrastructure and resources, as well as a highly trained and capable staff. In particular, our Institute offers 24/7 coverage by board-certified acute care surgery-trained, critical care-certified surgeons and a collaborative culture where subspecialists are seamlessly integrated into the patient care team. Our robust acute care surgery program strives for continuous quality improvements for patients while supporting a research and educational program that complements these clinical care and quality improvement efforts.

Emergency General Surgery

Emergency general surgery uses the tenets of evidence-based medicine to manage acute surgical disease. Physicians who practice emergency general surgery treat a broad spectrum of non-trauma related diseases where prompt operative intervention is needed to save lives and limbs, including:

  • Appendicitis
  • Necrotizing fasciitis (skin and soft tissue infections from flesh-eating bacteria)
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation or infection of the gallbladder, usually from gallstones)
  • Intestinal perforations
  • Mesenteric ischemia (poor blood flow to the intestines)
  • Small bowel obstruction
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding

Patients requiring emergency general surgery tend to be sicker upon arrival at the hospital, with an increased chance of complications and a higher risk of succumbing to their illness or injuries. These patients often require immediate, specialized critical care. Red Duke Trauma Institute is staffed by surgeons who continue to care for patients throughout their hospital stays, whether in the intensive care unit or other hospital units.

What Makes the Red Duke Trauma Institute Stand Out?

Red Duke Trauma Institute is dedicated to integrating trauma care from injury to recovery. We are the only Level I trauma Center in Houston to have a hospital-based air medical transport service, Memorial Hermann Life Flight®. By prioritizing teamwork and communication, our staff can transport patients from the scene of the accident to the operating room directly—timing is crucial with patients in critical condition. We have an array of specialists from physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians to trauma psychologists—all of which may be consulted early in the care of trauma patients, providing a seamless transition to rehabilitation.

Leading trauma centers typically have outstanding subspecialists with whom the trauma surgeons collaborate. Red Duke Trauma Institute strives for the same high level of cooperation through a partnership with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

A Learning Trauma Center

Red Duke Trauma Institute’s staff take great pride in the Institute being classified as a “learning trauma center.” This means that rapid learning occurs during the course of trauma care, informed by continuous improvement, a culture of inquiry, and research aligned with our clinical standards. This idea of a learning trauma center, adapted from observing and adopting military emergency medical techniques, has been embraced by the National Academies for Science and Medicine as an effective method for both treating patients and educating the next wave of trauma doctors.

Despite the robust research infrastructure at the Institute, there are still many unanswered questions regarding which treatments result in the best outcomes for individual patients based on their health status, medical history, and values and preferences. Through a partnership with the McGovern Medical School, affiliated medical researchers make use of our state-of-the-art equipment and resources to conduct clinical trials that advance our understanding of trauma care. Our physicians then apply the positive results of this research to future patients.

Innovative Research Projects

Red Duke Trauma Institute’s partnership with McGovern Medical School puts us squarely at the forefront of cutting-edge trauma care research. The medical school’s affiliated medical researchers have made great strides in studying the resuscitation of bleeding patients, including clinical trials such as PROPPR (Pragmatic Randomized Optimal Platelet and Plasma Ratio). Red Duke Trauma Institute was an early advocate for providing all components of blood—including plasma and platelets—as fluid replacement, not just red blood cells. This multicenter trial, led by our affiliated investigators, examined the optimal ratio of blood component replacement and has influenced not only our practice but that of other trauma centers across the country.

Additionally, several of the Red Duke Trauma Institute’s faculty work closely with UTHealth programs such as the Center for Translational Injury Research (CeTIR) and the Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine. These collaborative research projects include developing multimodal pain regimens that could minimize or eliminate the need for prescription opioids.

Dedicated to Improving Trauma Care

Red Duke Trauma Institute is on the cutting edge of trauma care where research, education and innovation intersect with high-quality, patient-centered care. We have a culture of inquiry that facilitates questioning of adage-based practices and investigation of promising new therapies. By combining these strategies, we are able to provide rapid implementation of evidence-based trauma care for patients who are critically ill or face otherwise life-threatening conditions. Our highly trained staff takes pride in our unwavering commitment to putting patients first.

For general information about Red Duke Trauma Institute’s full list of services, including Life Flight education and injury prevention tips, visit our trauma page. If you are a health care professional and need to request a patient transfer, call our Transfer Center at (713) 704-2500.