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For Tiniest Patients, Fetal Surgery Delivers Big Results

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 4:32pm
Joseph Brownstein

On Nov. 7, 2006, Mary Kelly went for a routine pregnancy ultrasound. Three days later, she and her unborn daughter had become pioneers.

Kelly and her daughter, Addison, now 5 years old, were the second mother and child to undergo a fetal surgery procedure where doctors removed a tumor between the heart and lungs that was causing heart failure and fetal hydrops — a condition where Addison was taking on so much fluid that she would not likely survive.

Over those three days, Kelly underwent tests and met with doctors to discuss her options. With her pregnancy only 26 weeks along, those options included monitoring the pregnancy and waiting, or inducing labor — and in both of those cases, the baby would likely die.

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