JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi’s only burn center will close in October 2022.

The center is currently located at Merit Health Central in South Jackson. The center cares for both pediatric and adult burn victims.

“Mississippi works too hard to be last. We got good people, but we need great leadership to step forward and break away from some of these political ideologies and actually do what’s best for people, and health care is a right, and health care is needed here in Mississippi. Mississippians should not have to travel to another state for burn care or any care,” said State Rep. De’Keither Stamps (D-District 66).

Nearly one third of the total inpatient burn cases are children. Some families, who have used the center, said the news about the closure is heartbreaking.

“One of the things is his ear was really badly burned. The technology that that doctor used isn’t even used everywhere. His knowledge is what brought that process to this state, and now it’s leaving us. I don’t know where children will go. That’s what I’m worried about the most is one of the things they told us is that when a child is burned, there’s a small window of time to save the skin. What are they going to do now?” questioned Kristel Robinson, whose son was treated in the burn center in 2019. 

The hospital released the following statement to WJTV 12 News.

The complex medical needs of burn patients require support from a broad range of specialists — ones you typically associate with burn programs, such as plastic surgery, and others you may not typically think of, like gastroenterology, ophthalmology, and urology. The COVID-19 pandemic and the challenging staffing and recruitment environment have made it increasingly difficult for us to recruit the breadth of specialists needed to maintain the burn program, which is the primary reason why we’ve made the difficult decision to close the Burn Center effective October 14, 2022.

Burn services, which include Burn Surgery, ICU and Stepdown, and the Burn & Hand Rehabilitative Services Clinic, will cease operations at that time. The burn clinic will continue to provide care to those current patients until they are transitioned to other appropriate physician practices.

We recognize the importance of burn services to the community and region, and we have been in discussions with other regional providers to explore the possibility of them establishing a burn program. We are grateful to have been able to meet the burn and reconstructive needs of patients from our state and from across the region for the past 14 years.

Merit Health Central

The Clarion Ledger reported burn patients in Mississippi will be redirected to Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, Firefighters Burn Center – Regional One Health in Memphis, Tennessee, or USA Health in Mobile, Alabama.

The last day for the burn center to be open in Mississippi is October 14.