Michael Bebbington, MD, MHSc, the new director of the Fetal Care Center of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) and Washington University, has an ambitious goal. By offering the full gamut of fetal services, he plans to develop the Fetal Care Center into the Midwest referral hub for families needing these specialized services.
“The Fetal Care Center already offers expectant moms a comprehensive team of world-class Washington University specialists that includes maternal-fetal medicine physicians, neonatologists backed by a Level IV Newborn Intensive Care Unit, and pediatric surgeons and subspecialists,” says Dr. Bebbington. “By adding a fetal intervention service, we can provide comprehensive care for families that spans their needs while their babies are still inside the uterus, through labor and delivery, the NICU and then for years to come.”
Dr. Bebbington is a leading fetal interventionist with 15 years of experience in open fetal surgery and fetoscopic-based interventions. He specializes in complex monochorionic twin pregnancies such as those affected with twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), twin reverse arterial perfusion sequence (TRAP), selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) and discordant anomalies. His expertise includes neural tube defects, including Spina Bifida, and other fetal conditions. His surgical expertise is combined with 25 years of experience evaluating and managing pregnancies complicated by fetal anomalies.
“The Fetal Care Center will be an invaluable resource for physicians who want a confirmation of a fetal anomaly or a second opinion about a diagnosis,” says Dr. Bebbington. “Early diagnosis of fetal problems gives families an opportunity to learn more about what they can expect. As well, referral to a Fetal Care Center such as ours means immediate access to the tremendous resources of all the consultative specialties and subspecialties available at SLCH.”
Dr. Bebbington notes that for many cases involving fetal complications, the best predictor of good outcomes is delivery in a hospital that has experience managing the multiple problems these newborns face.
“Especially around delivery time, you want everyone working closely with families to meet their special needs,” he says. “That’s why the setup here at the Fetal Care Center is unique and presents a distinct advantage. The proximity of Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s new labor and delivery facility—featuring its own fetal surgery suite—and the Children’s Hospital NICU right across the sky bridge means while mom is receiving the care she needs, her newborn is close by receiving the specialized care he or she needs. Families can spend time with their babies right from delivery and participate in their care.”
Before delivery, families benefit from the center’s concierge-based approach that ensures patients receive itineraries for each visit, escorts to diagnostic services, and physician consultations that present a complete picture for families and lay out a plan of care.
“Our goal is to ease some of the stress families are experiencing. We touch them at a very vulnerable point in their lives,” says Dr. Bebbington. “Fetal care involves not only a pregnancy but also a highly desired baby. We’re directed and driven by the quality and depth of service we can offer families.”
For more information about the Fetal Care Center, or to speak with Dr. Bebbington, call Children’s Direct at 800.678.HELP (4357).