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New Children’s of Mississippi Heart Surgery Leader Brings Care Closer to Home

By Annie Oeth

UM Medical Center Communications and Marketing

Dr. Phillip Burch is chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Children’s of Mississippi. Photo provided by UMMC

The chance to be closer to home brought Dr. Phillip Burch to Children’s of Mississippi. Now as chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, he wants children and families in the state to have the same opportunity for care.

Burch, an Alabama native, joined the leadership team of the Heart Center at the state’s only children’s hospital in October. He comes to Children’s of Mississippi from Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Previously, he served as Heart Center executive co-director, surgical director of pediatric cardiac transplant and chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Utah/Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

“My family and I are happy to be closer to home, and I’m excited to help the children of Mississippi get the care they deserve closer to home,” Burch said. “The Heart Center at Children’s of Mississippi cares for children across the state with congenital heart disease. Children’s of Mississippi has developed an excellent multidisciplinary team that provides children’s cardiac care for both simple and complex lesions.”

About one baby in every 100 has a congenital heart defect, or CHD, the most common type of birth defect. These can range from mild to critical.

Of children with CHDs, about 25 percent are born with a critical congenital heart defect. As these defects can lead to low blood oxygen levels, children with heart defects often require surgery soon after birth.

“The potential to continue to grow and develop the cardiothoracic surgery program at Children’s of Mississippi is exciting and the facilities are excellent,” Burch said. “The Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower is brand new, having just recently celebrated the first anniversary of its opening. The operating rooms and intensive care units, housed in Sanderson Tower, are state of the art. The new tower combined with the other facilities comprising Children’s of Mississippi yield a facility that is unsurpassed. Our team, of cardiologists, critical care specialists, surgeons and pediatric anesthesiologists, works together to provide outstanding cardiac care for children from all over the state.”

The Sanderson Tower, which opened Nov. 2, 2020, includes a dozen state-of-the-art surgical suites, as well as a new catheterization lab, opened this year. The tower, named for Sanderson Farms CEO and board chairman Joe Sanderson and his wife, Kathy, also includes private neonatal and pediatric intensive care rooms, a pediatric imaging center and outpatient clinics for pediatric cardiology and other specialties.

The Sanderson Tower was opened as a complement to the Batson Tower, named for the first pediatrics chair at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Blair E. Batson. Opened in 1997, the Batson Tower includes hospital inpatient floors and clinics including the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and the Eli Manning Clinics for Children.

A University of Alabama chemistry graduate, Burch earned his medical degree at the University of South Alabama in Mobile before completing his general surgery residency at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Burch then performed his fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed his congenital cardiac surgery training at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair and professor of pediatrics, said Burch will provide world-class surgical care to Mississippi’s children as well as surgical leadership to advance children’s cardiac care.

“Dr. Burch’s surgical skills and commitment to care will benefit children born with CHDs and their families,” Taylor said. “He is a proven medical leader, and we are happy to welcome him to Children’s of Mississippi and UMMC.”

The addition of a surgeon and leader in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery will help Children’s of Mississippi’s Children’s Heart Center grow, said Dr. William Moskowitz, chief of UMMC’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology and co-director of the Children’s Heart Center.

“Dr. Burch’s arrival expands Children’s of Mississippi’s surgical capabilities,” Moskowitz said, “and the care we provide to children and families throughout the state.”

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