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Brandon Lane Phillips, MD



When I Wished Upon A Star

Growing up as a patient with congenital heart disease, Brandon Lane Phillips often felt alone. He knew no one else who had his heart condition and believed no one understood his condition.  Brandon believed he would die young. Like many congenital heart patients, he wondered if he would have a long life. It is only natural to question one’s mortality when open-heart surgery is what enabled you to survive childhood.

Brandon worried that his heart defect caused his parents’ divorce and questioned just how much his illness had affected his siblings since so much extra attention was devoted to him. He longed to have the type of close relationship with his father that he saw on many of his favorite TV shows.

At 11 years of age, he was so desperate to find answers that he asked God to show him that He loved him. Soon after, he received a wish to meet child actor Jeremy Miller from TV’s Growing Pains. Brandon had wished to meet him because he envied his “perfect” fictional family. After one of the show’s stars told Brandon that God had a plan for his life, Brandon left the set that evening feeling that the trip had been orchestrated as an answer to his prayer. Brandon’s life truly changed forever after having met Jeremy on the television set of Growing Pains.

At the time of his wish, only God could have predicted how Brandon’s life and those of the stars of his favorite TV show would intertwine in the decades to follow; no one could have foreseen that a wish made by a young boy would give both he and Jeremy hope for their future and help them find purpose in the lives they were created for by a loving God--lives that would live on despite troubles and despair.

Brandon was meant to use the experiences of his childhood to help others. It is the only way to explain how his life has come full circle time and time again.


About the Author


Born and raised in rural Louisiana, Dr. Brandon Lane Phillips was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect shortly after his birth. From an early age, he developed a desire to become a pediatric cardiologist because he so greatly admired his childhood physician.

Dr. Phillips received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Louisiana Tech University in 2000 before pursuing his medical degree at Tulane Medical School. He completed his residency in general pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital & Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A highlight of Dr. Phillips's medical education was receiving portions of his medical training from the very physicians who had cared for him.

As a second-year medical student, Dr. Phillips had an essay about his chronic illness and the experience of having open-heart surgery between his first and second years of medical school published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).


Dr. Phillips considers it a great honor to have been invited back to Tulane Medical School several times to lecture to the medical students about pediatric cardiology and share his journey from patient to physician with them. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in Tulane’s Department of Medicine.

Among many of Dr. Phillips's awards and accomplishments, he is most proud of his Young Alumnus of the Year award from Louisiana Tech University in 2006 and the Robert C. Baird award from Tulane University School of Medicine in 2004, which recognizes a senior medical student each year who embodies Dr. Baird's ability to overcome hardship and exemplify excellence and achievement. He was also recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Louisiana Tech University’s College of Engineering and Science in 2014.

He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Cardiology and American Society of Echocardiography, and is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both general pediatrics and pediatric cardiology. In addition to his position on the Board of Trustees for Starlight Children's Foundation, Dr. Phillips has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

He has served many summers as a camp counselor at special camps for children with heart defects, and he has also worked with Samaritan's Purse on the Children's Heart Project, even traveling to Mongolia in 2009 to help support the organization's mission.

In addition to writing a memoir When I Wished Upon A Star, Dr. Phillips has authored several medical journal articles and contributed to the book Common Cardiac Issues in Pediatrics. He currently resides in West Monroe, Louisiana.



Pediatric Cardiology Attending │Ochsner Hospital for Children, Pediatric Subspecialties Clinic, West Monroe, Louisiana

Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine │Tulane University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana

Board of Trustees │Starlight Children’s Foundation, Los Angeles, California

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