Dr. Mullins advanced quickly in his career, Keith says. Burn care is an extremely rare specialty, with fewer than 150 burn centers in the United States. Dr. Mullins became the center’s medical director in 2003 and led the expansion to include 16 sites of care located in nine states. His legacy includes the new burn center tower at Doctors Hospital of Augusta, part of a $75 million expansion featuring 96 inpatient beds and four additional dedicated burn ORs, which brings the center’s total to eight.
Doug Welch, president and CEO of Doctors Hospital of Augusta, described Dr. Mullins’ impact on the hospital, its community and its patients as immeasurable.
“What started in Augusta, his home, spread to hospitals across the country. In big cities and small towns, because of Dr. Mullins, burn patients received the high-quality care they deserved. He found a way to change more lives in more places,” he says.
Belinda, who has been at Doctors Hospital of Augusta as long as Keith has, says Dr. Mullins advanced the burn center to heights his predecessor couldn’t have imagined. Prior to the expansion, Dr. Mullins shared his plans with her.
“I remember him walking me outside — he showed me his vision,” she recalls.
Keith says his friend’s biggest contributions were his vision, work ethic and collaborative leadership style.
“He was the hardest-working person in that burn center. Part of it was his work ethic; part of it was how he was raised. His idea of fun was work,” Keith says. “It was also a passion and a quest. He wanted it to be the biggest and best [burn unit] in the world.”
There’s a lot of academic research and a lot of networking involved in the burn care field, Keith says. Dr. Mullins was less focused on recognition and more focused on doing the field work.
“He never wanted to be in the spotlight, and I think that says a lot about somebody,” he says.