In March 2011, Children’s Mercy Hospitals became one of only three free-standing children’s hospitals in the country to deliver babies.
The Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center at Children’s Mercy Hospital offers a broad range of high level perinatal services to assist with diagnosis and family counseling for serious congenital defects.
The Fetal Health Center provides assistance with the diagnosis and management of fetuses with complex congenital malformations, consultative services with a maternal/fetal medicine specialists, integrated care coordination with broad range of pediatric specialists pre- and post-delivery, delivery services for high-risk infants with congenital conditions, and support from the hospital’s Level IIIc neonatal intensive care unit.
Physicians can refer mothers and/or babies to any or all of the Center’s four components:
- Fetal Health Center Perinatal Clinic
- Fetal Health Center Integrated Prenatal Clinic
- Special Care Delivery Service
- Level IIIc Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Offered in collaboration with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, the center works in partnership with referring obstetricians and maternal/fetal specialists throughout the region to coordinate prenatal evaluations with pediatric and surgical subspecialty input as needed.
"It has become increasingly evident that for some babies with anticipated birth defects, delivery here in the children’s hospital with immediate availability of necessary services is preferable rather than transfer after birth from another hospital," says Howard Kilbride, MD, Vice Chair of Perinatal Services and Neonatology Division Director.
Timothy Bennett, MD
In the first 12 months of service, the center provided 75 deliveries and 197 integrated consults. Abdominal wall defects and complex heart defects have been the most common clinical diagnoses evaluated at the center, but CNS and kidney anomalies are also frequently seen. In December, the center performed its first EXIT procedure on a child with a head and neck mass.
"Since starting our delivery service nearly one year ago, we have received tremendous positive feedback from our patients (mothers) and families," says Timothy Bennett, MD, a maternal/ fetal medicine subspecialist, Vice Chairman of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.
Dr. Bennett expects the number of deliveries, as well as the type and severity of cases, to continue to grow within the next year.
"We provide a truly integrated service. Our consultations include subspecialty physicians and other health care professionals with specific expertise related to the fetal diagnosis," says Dr. Bennett. "From these consultations, a comprehensive plan is made for further evaluation and management."