Surgeon at WVU Medicine Children’s finds life’s work in personal experience

Sponsored - For Dan Parrish, MD, minimally invasive general surgeon at WVU Medicine Children’s, the decision to pursue pediatric surgery came from his experience with his son’s medical care.

“My son was born about three months after I started residency, but it wasn’t until he started having medical issues and needed a major operation that I realized that this is what I wanted to do with my life,” he said.

The general surgeons at WVU Medicine Children’s deliver advanced surgical care, including endoscopic and laparoscopic approaches, to infants, adolescents, teens, and young adults. These minimally invasive methods can result in fewer and smaller incisions, and often result in less pain, a shorter hospital stay, and a faster recovery.

“One of the biggest questions I get asked before an operation is, ‘How long is this going to take, and how long are we going to be in the hospital?’” Dr. Parrish said. “I can tell them, ‘You’re going to be here two or three days after what we just did.’ Whereas if it were a big, open operation, they might be here for a week. Their pain is going to be less. They’re able to get home a lot faster. They’re able to get back to their routine a lot faster.”

The experienced pediatric surgical team at WVU Medicine Children’s treats congenital and neonatal conditions as well as those that develop later, including:

· Appendicitis

· Birth defects (congenital conditions)

· Conditions that affect the esophagus, including swallowing problems

· Cysts

· Different types of hernias

· Gastrointestinal disorders, such as gallbladder disease, reflux, gallstones, and birth defects that involve the development of the intestinal tract and bowel

· Trauma

“While I was in residency, I started to figure out what practice I wanted to be involved in. I wanted a small practice, where all the partners sort of took care of everybody’s patients,” Parrish said. “It’s been just a big collaborative effort on our part to incorporate all of their experience with my minimally invasive knowledge for the betterment of our patients.”

Having been on the receiving end of pediatric surgical care for his son, Parrish can easily relate to what families are going through when their children come to him for treatment.

“The most comfort we got from his medical team was when they were able to relate to us just to show that they knew what we were concerned about, and that showed me how I wanted to be with my patients because I’ve gone through that,” he said. “I know the stress and the anxiety and the fear that they’re feeling. I know this is the hardest day of their lives. I know that when we do this, and if they do it right and I do it right, then things are going to work out.”

For more information on WVU Medicine Children’s, visit

Dr. Sertac Cicek joins WVU Medicine Children’s and the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute

M. Sertac Çiçek, MD, joined WVU Medicine Children’s and the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute as the new professor and chief of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Çiçek join the WVU Medicine Children’s family and bolster our outstanding pediatric cardiothoracic surgery program,” Amy L. Bush-Marone, RN, BSN, MBA, CNOR, chief operating officer for WVU Medicine Children’s, said. “As the state’s only provider of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, it is our responsibility to ensure that no family ever has to leave the state or region to find life-saving care for their child, and the addition of Dr. Çiçek to our team will help us do just that.”

Dr. Çiçek joined WVU Medicine from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, this summer and assumed the role of chief of Pediatric and Cardiothoracic Surgery from Robert Gustafson, MD, who held the position since 1984.

Dr. Gustafson, affectionately known as “Dr. Gus” by his patients and colleagues, is a Keyser native and two-time graduate of WVU. During his tenure, he has treated close to 15,000 patients from across the state, country, and around the world. He has received dozens of accolades for his work, including the Children’s Miracle Achievement Award from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the West Virginia State Distinguished Service Award – the highest civilian award given by the governor.

Throughout his career, Gustafson has been involved in more than 20 professional societies and more than 80 institutional, state, national, and international committees; served as principal or co-principal investigator on more than 50 grants and contracts; delivered more than 100 national invited lectures and presentations; and published more than 110 abstracts, original peer-reviewed articles, and book chapters.

Çiçek completed his medical education at Ankara University and the Gülhane Faculty of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey, graduating summa cum laude in 1985. He then completed a five-year residency in cardiovascular surgery in Ankara, followed by fellowships in cardiac surgery and transplantation at the Texas Heart Institute and the Mayo Clinic and in pediatric cardiac surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Çiçek returned to his home country to establish several pediatric and adult cardiac surgery programs at hospitals throughout Turkey, including the Siyami Ersek Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Training Hospital, one of the largest heart centers in Europe, where he also served as the physician-in-chief.

He then served 10 years as director of the Heart and Vascular Care Center at the Anadolu Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Istanbul. Under Çiçek’s leadership, this program rapidly grew from 200 cases to more than 1,000 cases per year, achieving excellent outcomes across the full spectrum of pediatric cardiac surgery, including complex congenital operations.

Çiçek was recruited back to the Mayo Clinic as professor and senior associate consultant in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery in 2017.

Çiçek is an internationally recognized leader in congenital cardiac surgery. He is a Fellow of American College of Surgeons, American College of Cardiology, and American College of Chest Physicians. He is a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), Society of Thoracic Surgeons, European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Association for European Pediatric Cardiology, Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (ASCVTS), European Congenital Heart Surgeons Association (ECHSA), Congenital Heart Surgeons Society, and World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery (WSPCHS).

He served on the Councils of ASCVTS and WSPCHS, as well as the Steering Committee of the World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, the Board of Directors of ECHSA, and the Membership and Education committees of AATS. Çiçek served as the Chairman of Seventh World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, which is considered to be the one of the highest honors in the pediatric and congenital cardiac profession. He serves on multiple editorial boards and is an associate editor of World Journal of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery.

For more information on WVU Medicine Children’s, visit For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit