Mississippi Baptist Medical Center receives burn center designation

Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 10:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Less than a year after the state’s only burn center closed at Merit Health, two hospitals now have burn center designations from the Department of Health.

Mississippi Baptist Medical Center announced its approval in a press conference Thursday.

”Getting a state designation to be a burn center is a validation of the work that we’ve been doing here,” said Dr. Derek Culnan, Medical Director of the Mississippi Burn, Hand, and Reconstruction Centers.

WLBT first introduced you to Dr. Derek Culnan in January. He was treating a young patient the day we visited the new space at Baptist.

At that time, he was still waiting for the designations his clinic had prior to closing at Merit Health. With that accreditation now official, Dr. Culnan is grateful for the space and resources offered by Baptist and even more so, the commitment to the mission.

“Mississippi is a state with about three million patients that were our catchment,” Culnan said. “And for a hot minute, the answer was to try to find something else. And these people who I asked to help me serve that population came to and we did it.”

Culnan’s philosophy is that he wants to accept every patient, every time, regardless of income.

“It’s based on treating a little girl who got burned at a bonfire, who’s concerned about how her peers are going to treat her when she goes back to school and restoring her, to her function,” he noted. “It’s about taking care of a man who was at work and crushed her amputated part of his hand, who’s worried about how he’s going to perform and provide for his family. It’s getting people back to their lives.”

The center started working out of Baptist in November after Merit Health closed the center there in October.

“We’ve treated 927 patients,” said Mississippi Baptist Medical Center CEO and Administrator Bobbie Ware. “We’ve done 1,059 surgeries and over 2000 clinic visits.”

The legislature initially appeared poised to select the state’s next burn center. But by the end of the session - they left the decision up to the state Department of Health. Since that time, both the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Baptist have received the designation.

Baptist will keep working to retrofit spaces for more convenience with plans to add therapy and operating rooms adjacent to the clinic.

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