Dr. Angel Munoz honored by Memorial Hermann, Northeast Hospital Authority
Neonatologist Angel Munoz knew little Nathan Reynolds was going to be a challenge.
Little Nathan was a newborn and he kept dying.
That’s why, back in 1996, Nathan was in Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital’s new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“He kept dying on us,” recalls Margaret Miller, a NICU nurse trained by Dr. Munoz, who spent many days caring for little Nathan.
Twenty-two years later, “little” Nathan is more than 6 feet tall and returned to the newly expanded and refurbished NICU to thank Munoz for the life-saving care the doctor and his nurses gave to Reynolds over the long months he spent in Northeast’s NICU.
“He saved my life,” said Reynolds, now a healthy property manager for Lark Mason Associates in New Braunfels.
Reynolds was among hundreds of local and area residents who watched Munoz open the doors and take the first steps into the Angel Munoz M.D., M.P.H. NICU at Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital.
Prior to taking those first steps into the care unit named after him, Munoz was lauded by Roy Hearnsberger, president of the Northeast Hospital Authority Board of Trustees, and Josh Urban, senior vice-president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center.
“When we first established Northeast Medical Center Hospital,” Hearnsberger told the gathering, “we knew that the best buildings would not be enough. We needed the best physicians to care for our families and we chose Dr. Munoz because we knew that he would be the best doctor we could find to handle the most complete and high-risk little newborns in our community.”
Memorial Hermann Northeast, originally founded by the Hospital Authority in 1977, was acquired by Memorial Hermann in 2007. The authority funded the $1.3 million expanded and fully renovated Northeast NICU.
“Thanks to the generous support from our partners at the authority, we have been able to grow our NICU services both in space and technology,” said Urban.
The authority funded expansion of the NICU from six to 10 beds and purchased new equipment that enables affiliated physicians and staff to care for premature infants as young as 28 weeks gestation.
Munoz arrived at Northeast as the Lake Houston area’s first neonatologist in August 1994. He created the hospital’s NICU and trained the nurses who would be staffing it.
“I wanted our neonatal nurses to be as exacting as I am, well-trained and never making a mistake,” he said.
Since his arrival at Northeast, Munoz and his team have cared for more than 25,000 Lake Houston-area newborns.
In 2017, Munoz transitioned from the demanding and nerve-wracking world of hospital health care to expanding WeeKare, the two pediatric clinics he established in Kingwood and in East Houston/Channelview.
For a brief moment, hundreds of Munoz’ staff, patients, family members and community leaders recalled those early years and honored the man whose life revolved around his babies and the NICU nursery for almost 25 years.
The guests each took a moment to view a plaque placed at the entrance of the NICU that reads, “Dedicated to Angel Munoz, M.D., M.P.H., June 28, 2018. Made possible through the generous support of the Northeast Hospital Authority in honor and recognition of the service Dr. Munoz provided as Lake Houston’s first neonatologist, taking care of more than 25,000 babies in his nearly 25 years at this hospital. Like this NICU, Dr. Munoz provided comfort, strength and steadfast care to the families of the Lake Houston community.”
Besides Urban and Hearnsberger, among those attending the dedication were Humble City Mayor Merle Aaron, Humble Mayor Pro Tem Norman Funderburk, Humble City Manager Jason Stuebe, Authority Trustees Tim Baker, Barbara Reischmann, Bobby Panzarella and Mike Hardage, Noel and Cristi Cardenes, Carol Prince, Tricia Racine, Dr. Heinrich Schettler, Dr. Suseela Atluru, Dr. Miles Mahan, Art and Carolanne Voltmann, and Linda Davison.