Mini-guide to major hospitals

Sounds of music (and a great salad bar) are part of the Methodist Hospital experience

Sounds of music (and a great salad bar) are part of the Methodist Hospital experience

News_Methodist Hospital_Dunn Tower_July 2010
Methodist Hospital, Dunn Tower Courtesy of Methodist Hospital
News_Methodist Hospital_Dunn lobby_July 2010
The Methodist Hospital lobby looks like an upscale hotel Courtesy of Methodist Hospital
News_medical_Dr. Michael DeBakey_surgeon_by Methodist Hospital
Dr. Michael DeBakey Courtesy of Methodist Hospital
News_Methodist Hospital_Dunn Tower_July 2010
News_Methodist Hospital_Dunn lobby_July 2010
News_medical_Dr. Michael DeBakey_surgeon_by Methodist Hospital

Editor's Note: Navigating Houston's big medical buildings can be confusing. To help out, we offer a mini-guide to the major hospitals. Next up: Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center.

Methodist Hospital: The cornerstone of the Methodist Hospital System is a private, adult teaching hospital at the Texas Medical Center specializing in many disciplines, including cardiovascular surgery, organ transplants, neurology and neurosurgery. The system is also the official health care provider for the Houston Texans, The Houston Dynamo, The Houston Astros, The Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera.

History: Methodist Hospital began treating patients in 1919 and over the years, it has grown to include a total of four hospitals throughout the Houston area (a fifth is slated to open in west Houston in the Fall 2010). U.S. News and World Reports gives the hospital high marks in its 2010-11 survey. The system also draws praise for its pioneering spirit. Methodist doctors performed one of the first heart transplants in 1968 and continue to make transplant history with the nation’s first implantation of the MicroMed DeBakey-Noon ventricular assist device in 2000.

No. of beds: 950

Staff: The system employs more than 12,000 people, but perhaps the most famous name associated with Methodist Hospital is Dr. Michael DeBakey, the legendary heart surgeon and medical pioneer. The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center is a living tribute to a man who developed and used the first artificial heart. After operating on more than 60,000 patients over 70 years, DeBakey died at The Methodist Hospital in July 2008.

Where to park: Valet parking is available daily at the following locations: Dunn Tower (Fannin Street entrance), Scurlock Tower (Fannin Street entrance),  and Smith Tower (University Street entrance). The valet opens at 6:30 a.m. at the Scurlock and Smith Towers. The Dunn Tower opens at 7 a.m.

For those who choose to self-park, try the Texas Medical Center Garage 1 just south of the hospital, with a covered crosswalk to the Dunn Tower Lobby. Drivers can enter from Fannin Street. The Texas Medical Center Garage 7 is another option for covered parking and a covered crosswalk. Drivers should enter from John Freeman Boulevard, just north of the hospital.

Where to eat: No matter why you’re at the hospital, you still have to eat. Methodist’s restaurant selection includes Alonti Deli (breakfast tacos, deli sandwiches, pasta) Murphy’s Deli, Miller’s (hamburgers) and Poblano’s (Mexican, only open for breakfast and lunch). Hands-down though, it’s The Market Place that wins rave reviews for its various stations (salad, Asian cuisine) as well as the on-site cake and pastry making.

Amenities: The sounds of music often waft through the lobby as a pianist plays tunes on a baby grand piano daily. The Methodist Hospital Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM) offers a free concert on the first Tuesday of every month in the hospital's Crain Garden. The Sue Fondren Trammell Pavilion luxury suites are an upscale collection of rooms that feel more like hotel rooms than those in a hospital. Methodist’s volunteers offer patients opportunities to knit, garden, journal and listen to live music.