Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Merritt Joins Staff at Methodist Physicians Clinic Westroads Office ParkPublished: July 30, 2020
Cardiothoracic surgeon HelenMari Merritt, DO, knows firsthand what patients and families are facing on the path to treatment and recovery. Her own son, whom she calls her “heart surgery warrior,” was born with a complex congenital heart disease, underwent surgery at 6 days old and spent 16 days in the NICU.
“That changed the way I interact with patients and gave me insight into their experiences and the personal impacts that linger once the surgery is over,” said Dr. Merritt, who has joined the staff at Methodist Physicians Clinic Westroads Office Park. “It definitely helped me realize that it’s important to be there for the easy conversations as well as the difficult ones, and how important that patient-doctor relationship really is.”
Dr. Merritt graduated cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Arts in biology while simultaneously working as an emergency medical technician. She completed medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth and went on to general surgery training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. It was there that she was recruited as the inaugural resident in the integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency program.
She came to Methodist from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she was a faculty adult cardiac surgeon as well as the program director of the cardiothoracic surgery residency program and the surgical director of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program.
Dr. Merritt, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, is committed to patient advocacy and serves in multiple leadership roles within the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) and Women in Thoracic Surgery. In 2019, she was selected for and completed the Physician Leadership Program through the Health Management Academy. She has also been active in research and education, with over 35 international and national presentations and 20-plus research articles published in scientific journals. She is the author of two book chapters and is a guest reviewer for four peer-reviewed journals.
She is particularly interested in treating heart arrhythmias surgically, cardiac and thoracic tumor management, and to utilizing minimally invasive surgical approaches whenever possible. “It’s a really dynamic time for cardiothoracic surgeons,” she said. “We continue to innovate, and we continue to try to get patients back on their feet faster, and back to doing the things that they love.”
Outside of work, Dr. Merritt enjoys camping, playing tennis and spending time with her family.