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Houston Methodist Foundation Magazine | 2014

Through their resources and search for knowledge, the Katz family has turned a personal tragedy into a scientific quest to find better treatments for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and quality care for all patients suffering from chronic illness. “My parents really have devoted their lives to Lenny,” says Evan Katz, Lenny’s older brother by three years (and one of Lenny’s three siblings). “They’re inspiring to this day. Together, we understand that we can help so many more people in the process of caring for and trying to help Lenny.” The Katz family’s most recent gift created the Lenny C. Katz Chair in Health Outcomes and Quality in Honor of Stuart M. Dobbs, MD, a well-respected Houston Methodist physician who has worked with Lenny and served as the family’s gastroenterologist for 25 years. As Houston Methodist’s Chief Quality Officer, Dr. Dobbs will use the funds generated from the endowed chair to pursue systems improvements aimed at better patient outcomes, quality and safety, in addition to advances in physician/provider performance measures. “The Katz family has underscored and accented the caring and compassion that they have delivered to Lenny, which has allowed the rest of us to participate in that same level of compassion,” Dr. Dobbs says. Houston Methodist’s Dr. Dale Hamilton, the Elaine and Marvy A. Finger Chair for Translational Research in Metabolic Disorders and chief attending physician to Lenny and Jerold Katz, has expanded his research in bioenergetics through the Katz family’s support. Studying the energy production processes in brain cells via mitochondrial function and regulation is opening new pathways of understanding into how the brain functions. The family also supports a navigator program that coordinates health care and communication for patients living with chronic illnesses. Through Lenny’s experiences, Dr. Hamilton has incorporated “the phenomenal aspect of consciousness” into his clinical care and research. It is an area that holds potential for better insight into what the damaged brain is capable of achieving, perhaps one day overcoming its own limitations. Through observational changes, the Katz family and Lenny’s doctors and nurses can tell when something is not right with Lenny. “When Lenny’s not feeling well, he lets us know it. But he can’t tell us,” Dr. Dobbs says. “As you look around and do the appropriate studies, you can figure out exactly what the issue is, get it fixed, and then the clinical situation settles back down.” The bonds formed between Drs. Dobbs and Hamilton and the Katz family go beyond physician/patient -- they are life-altering and enduring. “This family has been through a very tragic, unrelenting experience, one to which they have come together and adapted,” Dr. Hamilton says. “It has provided an example that, in my experience, has been unparalleled.” Evan Katz said his parents have played complementary roles in Lenny’s care. “My father pushed us to find an answer to Lenny’s injury. My father was our inspiration. My mother, though, rarely left Lenny’s side. She has been his doctor and his nurse – and has held his hand to remind him that he was loved.” The family felt that same love and diligence at Houston Methodist. “The work of Dr. Dobbs and Dr. Hamilton means so much to us,” Evan says. “Initially, they saved my brother’s life, and they continue to keep him in the good condition he is in today.” Throughout the years, the family has contributed to some of the nation’s most promising brain studies, including Weill Cornell Medical College’s Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury and the Jerold B. Katz Professorship in Neurology and Neuroscience. The Katz family’s contributions to medical research - including brain and quality/outcomes initiatives - continue to fuel the medical world’s understanding of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and long-term care. 6 Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation


Houston Methodist Foundation Magazine | 2014
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