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Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital Dedicates Surgical Suites to Former Surgeon

Accompanied by family, friends and colleagues, Kenneth L. Mattox, MD, returned to Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital on April 7 for a ceremony to dedicate the medical facility’s second-floor surgical suites in his honor.

During a 60-year medical career that ended only in 2020, Mattox served as Ben Taub Hospital’s chief-of-staff and surgeon-in-chief for 31 years, with the hospital achieving global recognition for its elite trauma and emergency care capabilities during his leadership.

As a dedicated faculty instructor for Baylor College of Medicine and his work at Ben Taub Hospital, Mattox trained thousands of doctors serving southeast Texas and beyond. Among his many proud accomplishments is working with the U.S. Department of Defense to operate the Joint Trauma Training Center at Ben Taub Hospital, a one-of-a-kind arrangement with the U.S. military (Air Force, Army and Navy) to train military surgeons from 1998 to 2000.

Esmaeil Porsa, MD, president and CEO, Harris Health, called the naming of the new Kenneth L Mattox, MD Surgical Suite in his name a well-deserved honor and a decision that had not been taken lightly by Harris Health. He highlighted Mattox’s years of dedication to patients, physicians and staff, and his pursuit for patient care excellence, adding: “I strongly believe that when you love what you do, then you have a life worth living and, Dr Mattox, you’re a great example of that.”

In 2019, Ben Taub Hospital completed a US $70 million construction and renovation project that added more than 75,000 square feet of surgical suites. With state-of-the-art rooms and industry-leading equipment, surgical teams are able to perform nearly 6,600 more complex and emergent surgeries (acute, vascular, neurological, thoracic and orthopedic) annually.

Dr Mattox received a steady stream of compliments from former colleagues and friends throughout the ceremony, including Glorimar Medina, MD, administrator, Ben Taub Hospital; Sandeep Markan, MD, chief of staff, Ben Taub Hospital; Kim Monday, MD, former member, Harris Health Board of Trustees; and colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine, Matthew Wall, MD; Eric Silberfein, MD; and James McDeavitt, MD.

Medina said: “It’s obvious the love you have for Ben Taub Hospital, the passion you have for excellence and the passion you have for patients and physicians. Your love is palpable and very obvious.”

Calling Mattox his ‘surgical father,’ Wall had the crowd laughing after sharing a story of how Mattox, whose presence could intimidate young and seasoned doctors, demanded accountability and quick critical thinking from everyone during emergencies and surgeries.

“He was among the first who taught extreme ownership of actions,” he recalled. “When he noticed that a trainee was not responding in a timely manner, he would say ‘Nurse, please take down the clock and put up a calendar.’”

Wall also spoke of Mattox’s impact on the next generation of healthcare professionals, a core value embraced by Harris Health, adding: “In Ken’s case, tens of thousands of vulnerable patients he has personally cared for, tens of thousands of trainees that then cared for thousands of patients thus millions he’s cared for directly and indirectly.”

Addressing around 70 other attendees at the ceremony, Dr Mattox said: “This recognition is not just of me, but for all the mentors that have taught me in this wonderful marriage of Baylor College of Medicine and Harris Health System, and for this group of people to come out and participate with me today, I am deeply honored.”

CAMFIL HVAC Filtration Solutions

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