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Baptist hires director of pediatric intensive care unit

Baptist welcomes Dr. Mark J. Heulitt, formerly a pediatric intensivist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. He will serve as the medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children’s Hospital.

The new 12-bed unit is scheduled to open in December 2016.

The PICU is the latest addition to Baptist’s growing pediatric services, according to Kevin Hammeran, administrator and CEO of the Baptist Children’s Hospital and Baptist Women’s Hospital.

A PICU is an area within a hospital specializing in the care of critically ill infants, children and teenagers. According to Hammeran, a PICU is often the next step in the care of a sick child and will help the hospital provide a continuum of care for area families.

Since opening its 10-bed emergency department in January 2015, the Baptist Children’s Hospital has seen steady, high volumes, averaging about 45 patients a day with staff seeing an all-time high of more than 100 patients in one day, according to Baptist officials.

The addition of the PICU will be a natural place to transition those patients who require an extra level of care—helping alleviate the need to transfer patients, which can be disruptive to children and families, according to Hammeran.

Hammeran added that the Baptist Children’s Hospital is steadily becoming a strong and viable option for pediatric care, with its central location, which is easily accessible from Interstate-240. Plus, the hospital has attracted a diverse patient mix, with 75 percent of emergency department visitors being Medicaid patients.

“With his extensive experience in pediatric critical care, Dr. Heulitt is a perfect fit to build our pediatric intensive care unit,” said Hammeran. “He will help us take our pediatric care to a whole new level.”

Dr. Heulitt served as a professor of pediatrics, physiology and biophysics at the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He also was named as one of the Best Doctors in America by Best Doctors Inc. and is the co-chief editor of the Journal of Pediatric Intensive Care. Dr. Heulitt is also a Fellow of the College of Critical Care Medicine, a notable distinction for physicians, according to several sources.

He completed his internship and residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, where he served as chief pediatric resident. Dr. Heulitt then completed his fellowship in pediatric critical care at the University of Texas Southwestern University in Dallas and a neonatal-perinatal fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. He is recognized by many sources as an expert in pediatric critical care and has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.

Dr. Miguel Rodriguez, medical director of the emergency department at the Baptist Children’s Hospital, lauded Baptist’s choice of Heulitt and his critical role with Baptist’s growing powerhouse team of pediatric specialists.

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