An installation in the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center’s Rick Smith Gallery is a tribute to the late James H. “Red” Duke, Jr., M.D., who served on the UTHealth faculty for more than 40 years, transforming both medical education and trauma care in the Texas Medical Center and beyond.
The “Our Dr. Duke” installation, which is located near the main lobby of Memorial Hermann-TMC in the Hermann Atrium, features photographs, memorabilia, and stories from some of Duke’s closest friends and family. The installation also allows guests an opportunity to view a collection of Duke’s Texas Health Reports, a nationally syndicated television news program that was produced by UT-TV and aired in the 1980s and 1990s.
UTHealth President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, M.D., and five faculty leaders at McGovern Medical School are among those who shared stories about Duke as our founder, inspiration, minister, advocate, and mentor.
“In 2009, Dr. Duke wrote me a letter. In that letter, he said, `It is always my intention to attempt to treat others, be they patients, colleagues or strangers, with the dignity and respect that I can best determine would be their desire. I have never considered this some special behavior, just the manner in which any individual would relate to another human being.’ That was his true nature, even toward the end,” Colasurdo shares in his story titled “Our Inspiration.”
The must-see installation, which will be on view through November, even includes “Dukeisms” – unforgettable words of wisdom that Duke shared over the years with colleagues and students. Among them: “Stay in high grass and don’t raise your head in the same place twice.”
The installation’s opening coincided with the 40th anniversary of Memorial Hermann Life Flight®. Duke was instrumental in developing Life Flight, Texas’ first air ambulance service, and served as medical director of the program for nearly four decades. Earlier this year, the Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute was renamed the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute in his honor.
Joseph Love, M.D., associate professor of surgery, now serves as the medical director of Life Flight, a signature program of the trauma institute. As part of the installation, Love shares a humorous story about meeting Duke during “one of the best recruitment lunches of all time.”
The gallery opening also marked one year since Duke passed away on Aug. 25, 2015. As the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences at McGovern Medical School, he was a dedicated physician known for his extraordinary patient care and efforts to teach medical students, residents, other surgeons and also soldiers serving in the U.S. military.
To read stories from his friends, colleagues and patients, visit http://www.memorialhermann.org/our-dr-duke-stories/.