After helping make the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi a reality, Priscilla and David O’Donnell of Ridgeland have made a $1.5 million gift toward the renovation of the Blair E. Batson Tower.
The couple’s 2017 gift of $1 million created the Priscilla and David O’Donnell Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Cardiac Wing located in the Sanderson Tower. The unit includes 12 dedicated cardiac beds for management of medical and surgical (including pre- and post-operative) care for children with congenital heart defects.
The O’Donnells’ new $1.5 million commitment supports the renovation of the cardiac step-down and medical-surgical floor in the Batson Tower. The tower named for Dr. Blair E. Batson, the first pediatrics chair of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was opened in 1997 and is home to the medical-surgical units of the state’s only children’s hospital.
Patients are treated in the seven-story Batson Tower for many diseases and injuries, including cancer, neurological disorders, congenital heart disease, orthopedic surgical conditions, trauma, respiratory concerns and many other conditions.
“This recent gift from Priscilla and David O’Donnell continues their commitment to Mississippi children with heart conditions,” said Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair and professor of pediatrics, and an expert in pediatric cardiac critical care. “The O’Donnells helped create the state-of-the-art Pediatric Intensive Care Cardiac Wing in the Sanderson Tower, and this latest gift will allow us to offer the same state-of-the-art facilities in the Batson Tower.”
About one in 100 children are born with congenital heart conditions, making it the most common type of birth defect. Surgery and continuing care can allow many of those children to live a healthy, active life.
“We are happy to be blessed with the ability to contribute to such a worthy organization,” said David O’Donnell, owner of the W.E. Bowers Group, a mechanical contractor in Washington, D.C.
The couple, who together have five daughters ages 25 to 34, want to ensure that families have access to world-class health care facilities and providers right here in Mississippi.
“Because I remember when the Batson Tower opened,” Priscilla O’Donnell said, “I continued to think of it as new.”
“After a recent visit to the new PICU wing it gave us great joy to see what the Sanderson Tower has accomplished so far in the lives of these young children. After seeing the new facility, we knew that we wanted to be continued supporters of the Children’s Hospital,” said Priscilla.
Dr. William Moskowitz, professor and chief of pediatric cardiology and co-director of the Children’s Heart Center, said having cardiac surgical step-down rooms near the PICU will dramatically improve care.
“Renovation of the Batson Tower and advancements for cardiac care in our medical-surgical units will make the transition from intensive care easier for patients and their families,” he said.
A gift to the cardiac step-down was “a logical progression in the family’s continued support,” David said. “We hope that this effort will positively impact the wonderful, deserving children receiving life-saving treatment at Children’s of Mississippi. Although we will not know these fortunate children personally, we know that the care they will receive will be by some of the best doctors and staff in the country and will get them on the road to recovery.”
The O’Donnells see the Batson Tower updates as an extension of their commitment to children’s health care in Mississippi.
“The children of Mississippi need and deserve world-class health care facilities, and we are grateful to play a role in helping to make this possible,” said David O’Donnell.
To learn more about the Batson Tower renovation contact Suzanne Crell, major gifts officer, at (601) 815-8778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Annie Oeth/UMMC Public Affairs