They are among the most dangerous animals on the planet. Weighing anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, equipped with horns and an unpredictable temperament, buffalo have been known to attack at random, according to the National Park Service.
Roy Kaase knows all too well about the power of the buffalo. After years of raising them at his ranch in Weimar, Texas, Kaase was suddenly gored by one without warning, leaving him with wounds so serious he had to crawl out of the pen. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of his life. But, through the trauma, Kaase forged a bond with a Katy surgeon who saved his life, a man he now affectionately calls ‘his other son.’
Knowing how volatile buffalo can be, Kaase, who had long raised them for big game hunting at his ranch, had specially trained his herd so that he could safely feed them. In April 2016, Kaase went out to feed his buffalo as usual, but because one had fallen ill, he placed her in a separate pen.
“As I put the trough down, I turned my back to her. That’s when she came at me, striking me,” he remembers.
The buffalo rammed into Kaase multiple times, piercing his torso and leg, before he finally escaped the pen and made his way back to his home to call 911. A nearby hospital repaired his wounds, but he was far from fixed.
His Wounds Required Specialized Care
“One of the wounds got infected, and a few weeks later I got very sick. I called my son, Ty, and told him, ‘If I don’t get to a hospital in Houston, I’ll be dead in the morning.’ He raced over from his home and took me to the Emergency Center at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital,” says Kaase.
Kaase needed surgery to repair his internal injuries, and that’s when he was connected with Jaime Roman, M.D., a thoracic, vascular, and general surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Katy.
“I could tell Roy was very sick, but it wasn’t until I performed the first surgery that I got a good look at all the serious internal damage. There was a lot of work that needed to be done,” says Dr. Roman.
Dr. Roman would go on to perform multiple surgeries to repair internal injuries from the goring and clean out his infections. Kaase would then spend several months in and out of the hospital, as well as rehab facilities. Throughout it all, the family never lost hope. That’s because Dr. Roman had given the family a special promise: He would make sure that Kaase would be able to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary.
“He said he was going to make sure that my dad would make it,” remembers Ty Kaase. “He was right.”
A Special Celebration
Not only did Roy Kaase live to celebrate his 50th anniversary with his wife, Margaret, but a special guest arrived at the party to help toast the happy couple.
“I was proud to introduce Dr. Roman as my ‘other son’ and the surgeon who saved my life,” says Kaase. “He and his wife fit right in with our other friends and family.”
The moment was particularly poignant for Dr. Roman, whose own father had passed away before he was able to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary. Seeing a smiling Kaase surrounded by his loved ones, Dr. Roman became overwhelmed with emotion and joy for the Kaase family.
“I got tears in my eyes. This is the reason I do this. I know he had many complications, but when I see him enjoying his family, enjoying his life, it made me so happy,” remembers Dr. Roman.
Kaase still has some recovering to do, but he believes Dr. Roman, along with the care provided by his wife, made all the difference.
“He cared for me at the hospital, and she cared for me at home. I was a basket case. I can’t say how thankful I am,” says Kaase.
“Even when things weren’t looking good for my dad, Dr. Roman would tell us, ‘He’s going to make it,’ and I stopped worrying. We knew dad was in good hands and we can never thank him enough. He’s an excellent man and an excellent doctor,” says Ty Kaase.
Memorial Hermann Katy has a Level IV trauma center staffed with specially trained nurses and physicians prepared to provide critical care services. The Emergency Center offers services 24/7,including diagnostic capabilities, surgery and critical care services related to trauma care. If the situation demands, patients can be transferred quickly to a higher level of care within Memorial Hermann’s network of trauma centers, including the Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute.
Learn more about the emergency services offered across the Memorial Hermann Health System.