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Chalmers family gives Methodist Hospital anesthesiologists a rare gift - $425,000 to support patient care, research, and teaching

Houston, TX - 8/1/2011

A $425,000 gift from the Presley H. and Patti E. Chalmers Charitable Remainder Trust to The Methodist Hospital Department of Anesthesiology goes to health care providers who are rarely singled out for their contributions to medicine. The money will establish The Presley H. and Patti E. Chalmers Medical Education and Research Endowment Fund and support an annual lectureship in anesthesiology named for the Chalmers.

"We will put the Chalmers' generous gift to good use," said department chair Joseph J. Naples, M.D. "We are incredibly grateful. The funds will help us to enhance educational opportunities for our residents and younger faculty, and possibly seed new research projects as we increasingly pursue the science that protects patients and improves their outcomes."

Patti and Presley Chalmers
Patti and Presley Chalmers (Photo courtesy of Howard Chalmers) Click on photo for larger version.

Presley Chalmers, who passed away in 2004, was chief of Methodist's anesthesiology department for over four decades. His wife, Patti, passed in January of this year. They are survived by sons Howard, Roddy, and Mike. Howard Chalmers says Methodist has been an essential part of his family's growth and evolution.

"In addition to my father practicing medicine there and only there for 41 years, my mother had been a surgical nurse at the old hospital in downtown Houston," said Howard Chalmers.

Naples said Presley Chalmers' contributions to the development of anesthesiology as a serious academic discipline in Texas were substantial.

"He was a leader, a visionary -- a pioneer," Naples said. "He was the founder of a strong, viable anesthesiology department at Methodist, believing it would be the best thing for assuring quality in patient care. We continue to be touched and influenced by his guiding hand. He was also instrumental in the development of the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists, for which he was once the president."

Chalmers was the first recipient of the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists' Distinguished Service Award, in 1993.

Anesthesiologists are mistakenly believed to do just two things in the operating room -- put patients to sleep, then wake them up. But the field has evolved since its inception more than a half century ago. Anesthesiologists deliver a broad range of drugs and other medical solutions to patients during procedures, and they are the doctors who monitor patient vitals closely.

"We are viewed as the patient advocates in the operating room," Naples said. "Presley Chalmers helped create that idea -- that culture."

Howard Chalmers says his father would be very pleased with the leadership role Methodist Hospital has assumed in medicine and research and frequently discussed the confidence he had in and close working relationships he enjoyed with Methodist's leaders, from for hospital presidentTed Bowen to Ron Girotto, the current president and CEO of The Methodist Hospital System.

"The completion of this gift to the hospital represents a moment of great pride and satisfaction for my brothers Roddy and Mike, and for me, as well as for the entire Chalmers family," Chalmers said. "We are indebted to Methodist for making it possible to acknowledge Dad's work in this manner as both a pioneer and leader in the Methodist Hospital and in the practice of anesthesiology."

To speak with Joseph Naples or Howard Chalmers, please contact David Bricker, The Methodist Hospital, at 832-667-5811 or dmbricker@tmhs.org.


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