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December 9, 2004

Another major change in the Medical Center

As these earlier posts reflect, a huge Texas Medical Center rift arose earlier this year between Baylor College of Medicine and the Methodist Hospital over Baylor's decision to terminate its 50 year relationship with Methodist and make St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital its primary teaching hospital.

The Baylor-Methodist split has now officially replaced the longstanding acrimony between the world reknowned heart surgeons -- Dr. Michael DeBakey of Baylor's DeBakey Heart Center and Dr. Denton Cooley of St. Luke's Texas Heart Institute -- as the most severe professional turf war in the always tumultuous world of academic medicine in the Medical Center.

The signal for the change in the relative positions of these two heartfelt disputes was the announcement yesterday that Dr. Cooley had appointed a Baylor heart surgeon -- Dr. Joseph Coselli -- as the chief of adult cardiac surgery at the Texas Heart Institute.

Longtime observers of Medical Center politics expected dogs and cats to live together as best friends before such a development would ever occur.

This development will revitalize the Texas Heart Institute, which used to be one of the nation's premier heart centers before lagging behind the top national centers over the past decade or so. The appointment also means that the Texas Heart Institute will be led by an unusual management team comprised of doctors from both of the Medical Center's medical schools, Dr. Coselli from Baylor and Dr. James Willerson from the UT Health Science Center at Houston, who is the institute's president-elect, medical director, chief of cardiology and director of cardiology research.

Here is the Chronicle story on this development.

Posted by Tom at December 9, 2004 5:01 AM |


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