Children’s of Mississippi expansion to include state-of-the-art surgical suites

Published on Thursday, October 17, 2019

By: Annie Oeth, [email protected]

Pediatric surgeries from outpatient procedures to heart transplants will be performed in larger, state-of-the-art operating rooms built for children.

Under construction now as part of the seven-story Children’s of Mississippi expansion, the new surgical suites align with the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s missions of patient care and education, said Dr. Christopher Blewett, pediatric surgeon-in-chief.

“Not only will there be additional ORs, but they will be larger and more advanced,” Blewett said.

The new operating rooms each cover about 630 square feet, a 50 percent increase in space, said Brian Reddoch, UMMC’s project manager for the expansion. 

UMMC’s pediatric expansion space is set to open in fall 2020.

Children’s of Mississippi’s surgical area was opened in 2004 with seven operating rooms on the top floor of the state’s only pediatric hospital. The $180 million children’s hospital expansion, set to open in fall 2020, will have 12 ORs, each of them reflecting the latest in medical technology.

“The size and technology of these new operating suites are the standard today,” Blewett said. “Our surgeons have outstanding outcomes now, but when our expansion opens, they will be operating in suites that match their skills.”

The additional space is needed due to the number of specialists collaborating to provide the best care.

Blewett looks through a window on what will be the surgical floor of the children’s hospital expansion.

“For example, in orthopaedic surgery, there might be experts in fluoroscopy and X-rays, one or more surgeons, surgical nurses, a circulating nurse who acts as a patient advocate during the procedure, scrub techs, and an anesthesiologist,” Blewett said. “Because we are training the next generation of pediatric medical professionals, we may also have residents and fellows observing. In all, we could have as many as 10 people working in a pediatric surgical procedure.

“We also need these larger ORs for the size and amount of equipment available now,” he said, “as well as for the multiple trays of sterilized instruments required for complex surgeries.”

Surgical advances have increased the need for larger operating rooms and additional space for pediatric intensive care over the years.

“Complex pediatric surgeries can be performed here in Mississippi, putting care close to home for our patients and their families,” said Blewett.

The children’s hospital expansion also includes 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, a larger pediatric intensive care area, an imaging center designed for children and an outpatient specialty clinic. Nearby will be a 517-space parking garage.

“The experience will be so much more comfortable and convenient for patients and their families,” said Blewett. “Our families will be able to drive up to the entrance, and let the patient and a parent enter while other family members park the car in the new garage.”

Waiting areas and conference rooms where families can talk with doctors will be larger and will offer parents a quiet space to discuss their children’s medical care.

The expansion is being funded in part by philanthropy. The Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, launched in 2016 by Sanderson Farms CEO and board chairman Joe Sanderson Jr. and his wife Kathy, has reached more than 76 percent of its $100 million goal.


Dr. William Moskowitz, chief of pediatric cardiology, said the updated, larger surgical suites will build upon the success of the Children’s Heart Center, which he serves as co-director.

“This new area, where adjacencies of state-of-the-art operating rooms, catheterization suites, pediatric imaging including MR and CT, and peri- and post-operative care, will mean that our patients will be receiving the world-class care that any parent would want, without needing transport to more distant hospital locations, which enhances patient safety,” Moskowitz said. “It will also provide space for additional surgeons of all disciplines to care for patients.”

To learn more about Children’s of Mississippi’s pediatric hospital expansion, visit

Original Article