FEATURE $100,000 grant to allow physicians to perform innovative in-utero surgeries The leaders at the Fetal Care Center at Baylor University Medical Center Dallas have a clear vision: To become the first center in North Texas to provide perinatal correction of spina bifida and to develop new treatments for other complicated birth defects. Thanks to a recent $100,000 grant from the RGK Foundation, the Fetal Care Center is well on its way to realizing this vision. Spina bifida – a major birth defect of the spine – occurs when a fetal spine fails to fully form during early pregnancy. Depending on severity, children can face a lifetime of complications, including bowel and bladder control problems, paralysis of the legs and fluid on the brain. Importantly, a new approach to care allows physicians to surgically correct the defect while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. This can make a profound difference in the quality of the child’s life. Currently, North Texas families must travel far from home to places such as Houston, San Francisco or Philadelphia to receive this type of care for their unborn child. The first step to offer this care at Baylor Dallas is getting an advanced ultrasound system. The RGK Foundation grant will do just that, by funding the purchase of a Toshiba APLIO 300 V3 Ultrasound Imaging System. This will be located in the hospital’s Maternal Fetal Care Unit. “There is nowhere in the Dallas area that offers this type of treatment,” said Danielle D’Aquisto, nurse manager of the high-risk obstetrics unit at Baylor Dallas. “Having this technology here will 18 “Having this technology here will allow Dallas-area families to stay together closer to home while the mother and baby are being monitored.” – Danielle D’Aquisto allow Dallas-area families to stay together closer to home while the mother and baby are being monitored.” Danielle said that the increase in capabilities will allow the Fetal Care Center to diagnose and treat a wider range of high-risk obstetric patients. In the near future, the center will be able to care for mothers whose unborn babies have spina bifida and other medically complicated birth defects. Generous donor support will allow the Fetal Care Center to provide more innovative diagnostic testing, new fetal interventional procedures, more fetal surgeries, and expanded pre- and post-care for moms and their babies here in Dallas. For more information on how you can support the Fetal Care Center, contact Melissa Dalton at 214.820.2705 or Melissa.Dalton@ BaylorHealth.edu.