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The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Opens the World's First Delivery Unit for Mothers Diagnosed with Birth Defects in Fetus

The Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit at Children's Hospital Opens Today

PHILADELPHIA, May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An innovative new labor and delivery unit is now available for expectant mothers needing highly specialized, sophisticated medical care. The Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is the world's first comprehensive medical unit for mothers carrying a fetus with a known birth defect.

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"The Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit represents a new paradigm for care of pregnant women whose fetus has been prenatally diagnosed with a birth defect," said Steven M. Altschuler, M.D., president and chief executive officer at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind unit will provide the most personalized, comprehensive care for these families before, during and after birth."

The new eight-bed labor and delivery unit will allow Children's Hospital's experts in fetal medicine and surgery to provide seamless, comprehensive care from prenatal diagnosis, delivery, and necessary interventions through postnatal follow-up. The Special Delivery Unit is an alliance between the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment and the Fetal Heart Program at Children's Hospital.

"We anticipate this unique, multidisciplinary approach will improve outcomes for children with fetal abnormalities in a family-friendly, supportive environment," said Scott Adzick, M.D., surgeon-in-chief and medical director of the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. "This is a unique chance to make major advances to help children have better lives and it offers us an opportunity to push the field of fetal medicine forward."

There is a resuscitation room located adjacent to two of the inpatient rooms where Children's Hospital neonatology staff can be waiting to care for a baby that might be born in distress. There are also two operating rooms on the unit that are equipped for cesarean sections and fetal surgery. A third operating room is a hybrid that can be used by both the fetal surgery and cardiothoracic surgery teams.

Outpatient services will also be housed on Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit. Housed across the unit from the inpatient area, the outpatient area will be staffed by a dedicated team of radiologists, ultrasound and echocardiogram technicians, sonographers and nurses. When a family comes to the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit for an evaluation, they will have a series of tests all in one single day -- a level II ultrasound, an ultrafast fetal MRI and an echocardiogram. After the images are evaluated, the team sits down with the family to discuss the diagnosis and treatment options.

This is the first delivery unit at Children's Hospital and the first special delivery unit in a children's hospital dedicated to high-risk pregnancies, and Dr. Adzick believes the new unit will provide an environment more conducive to developing and perfecting fetal treatments to cure disease.

It is estimated that 50 percent of the babies born in the unit will have congenital heart defects. The SDU will be located near the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit and all of Children's Hospital's specialty services will be immediately available.

"Advanced imaging allows us today to diagnose congenital anomalies prior to birth, and these babies and their mothers need careful, ongoing monitoring," said Jack Rychik, M.D., director of the Fetal Heart Program in the Cardiac Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Babies diagnosed with birth defects in utero need to have specialized obstetrics and delivery services and often need management and care before or immediately after birth."

The Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit features a welcome center with a calming wall mural and comfortable seating, concierge service, private rooms, and round-the-clock care provided by obstetricians, nurse-midwives and the most highly experienced nurses. The unit is decorated in muted, adult-friendly colors and the artwork features nature settings. Amenities in the rooms include colored sheets, robes and slippers and bath soaps. After delivery, mothers will be treated to a celebratory gourmet meal.

The Special Delivery Unit is named for the Garbose Family in recognition of a major gift from William and Lynne Garbose to support Children's Hospital's Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment.

Lynne Garbose, a member of Children's Hospital's Board of Directors said, "When I was carrying a baby diagnosed with a rare and complicated heart defect, I was unable to deliver my baby at the pediatric institution where she was to be treated. I was tremendously anxious about the logistics of transporting my critically ill newborn and, once transferred, I was pained by the physical separation between us. The Special Delivery Unit will enable babies to receive treatment immediately and allow mothers to be just 'down the hall' rather than in another location."

As one of only a few centers of its kind in the world, the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia offers a wide range of comprehensive fetal surgery services that support patients from the prenatal evaluation stage through infant follow-up care. The Center was established in 1995 and has received over 8,000 referrals from all 50 states and 46 countries. The Center has performed over 500 fetal surgery operations including major open fetal surgical procedures for birth defects such as spina bifida, less invasive fetoscopic or ultrasound guided surgeries for conditions such as twin-twin transfusion syndrome, or multidisciplinary coordinated special delivery approaches for babies that require surgical interventions while still on maternal-placental life support (EXIT delivery) or immediate cardiovascular evaluation and open heart versus less invasive endovascular surgery for major congenital heart disease (IMPACT delivery). For more information, please visit

Advances in prenatal imaging now permit the detection of congenital heart disease early in pregnancy. The Cardiac Center's Fetal Heart Program specializes in expert diagnosis, evaluation and ongoing management of congenital heart disease before birth, as early as 12 weeks gestation. The program is the largest of its kind in the U.S., attracting referrals nationwide. A specialized team of fetal cardiologists, fetal imaging sonographers and dedicated nurse coordinators provide extensive family education and individualized counseling. The Fetal Heart team draws upon the full resources of the Cardiac Center to care for both fetus and family.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research and clinical initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Peggy Flynn

Phone: (267) 426-6080

SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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