Baptist celebrates grand opening of PICU

On December 13, Baptist leadership, team members, family and friends gathered in the Baptist Women’s Hospital lobby to celebrate the opening of the new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Another historic move for Baptist, the 12-bed unit located on the second floor of the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children’s Hospital now allows Baptist to provide continuous care for pediatric patients without transfers.

baptist-celebrates-grand-opening-of-picu_7Kevin Hammeran, CEO and administrator of the Women’s Hospital and the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children’s Hospital, opened the ceremony to a standing-room only crowd.

“This is a natural progression for us. We are seeing an increasing high-risk population of patients who need intensive care.”

Hammeran said the unit is subdivided and designed specifically to accommodate special patient cases, including the ability to respond to community health crises, such as the recent measles outbreak. “This is about quality and confidence. We’re never going to do anything but the best for our patients,” he added.

Baptist president and CEO Jason Little followed Hammeran, echoing his message. “We are very proud and really humbled for this opportunity we’ve been given.” With his characteristic wit, Little added, “My family at times has been high utilizers of this hospital, but I won’t bore you with all the stories.” Before leaving the podium, Little delivered a sincere, final word. “The stage is set for something really extraordinary here.”baptist-celebrates-grand-opening-of-picu_2

Spence Wilson and his wife Becky attended the event, during which he told the crowd, they are filled with “gratitude to those who provide these services.”

baptist-celebrates-grand-opening-of-picu_4Dr. Mark Heulitt, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit, spoke to the crowd about the strength of relationships above all else.

“This new PICU is a teaching moment and is an example of what could be described as just part of the solution in bringing critical care to the children of Memphis and beyond. The foundation of this unit is not the physical space or the technology that it holds. It is the people who will care for the children and support their families.”

Rewording a quote by the famous physician Dr. William Osler, Dr. Heulitt concluded his remarks by stating, “A true PICU doesn’t only treat the disease but the patient and their family who have the disease.”

Mother and special guest Crystal Verges shared her personal story about her baby Chloe’s hospitalization in the pediatric intensive care unit.

baptist-celebrates-grand-opening-of-picu_6“When Chloe went home, we had to return to Baptist because she developed RSV. She was admitted to the PICU where Dr. Heulitt gave her the name “superstar”. The care she received was far beyond my expectations, and we felt like Chloe was being cared for by family. “

Following the formal ceremony, guests were invited to tour the PICU where physicians and hospital leaders answered questions.