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Fetal Care Center opens in St. Louis

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 23, 2010

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children's Hospital, and Washington University School of Medicine have created a joint Fetal Care Center for high-risk mothers and births.

The Fetal Care Center will coordinate access to the maternity center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the nearby neonatal ICU at St. Louis Children's Hospital, and medical and surgical services from Washington University for the nearly 10,000 babies born each year in Missouri and the surrounding eight states who have serious medical conditions requiring specialized care.

It is also the only center in the Midwest offering advanced fetal diagnosis, fetal surgical interventions, and newborn medicine on one medical campus, the three provider institutions said in a joint announcement.

"We don't think a mother-to-be should wait for answers," said Anthony Odibo, MD, co-director of the Fetal Care Center and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University. "That's why we've designed our program to provide results, develop a plan -- even begin treatment, if necessary -- right on the spot."

Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital are adjacent, which will allow mother and baby to be on the same medical campus at the Fetal Care Center. "Delivering at a hospital that doesn't have the capacity to address some of these really important things then mandates the baby be transported from one facility to another," said Brad Warner, MD, surgical directory at the center. "That can be critical time and can sometimes make the difference between life and death."

The center has stress-reducing amenities, such as convenient appointment scheduling, personal nurse advocates, all tests done at one time and place, and an end-of-day physician conference to summarize test results and make team recommendations.

The center will specialize in surgical treatment, both in-utero and after delivery, to correct prenatal diagnoses including congenital heart defects, twin-twin transfusion syndrome, gastroschisis, omphalocele, and congenital diaphragmatic hernia.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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