The First and Only Comprehensive Program in Central Texas to Provide Care for Babies With Congenital Conditions Before, During, and After Birth
In partnership with Dell Children’s Medical Center, UT Health Austin announces the opening of the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center now located in the new Dell Children’s Specialty Pavilion
Reviewed by: Kenneth Moise, Jr., MD
Written by: Ashley Lawrence
In May 2021, the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center, a clinical partnership between UT Health Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center, began seeing patients at the new Dell Children’s Specialty Pavilion that is attached to Dell Children’s Medical Center.
The Comprehensive Fetal Care Center offers diagnosis, treatment, and management of complex and rare fetal conditions, including fetal heart conditions, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, urinary tract conditions, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Led by UT Health Austin fetal medicine specialist Michael Bebbington, MD, MHSc, and UT Health Austin fetal medicine specialist Kenneth J. Moise, Jr., MD, who have developed fetal centers across the country, this team of experts provide comprehensive, family-centered care to ensure patients and their families receive the highest level of specialized care before, during, and after delivery.
“The Comprehensive Fetal Care Center specializes in the most complex fetal conditions,” says Dr. Moise. “The extensive experience and compassion of our care team will provide unparalleled care for mothers with high-risk pregnancies and fragile babies. We are thrilled to help launch and lead this comprehensive program.”
Patients being cared for by the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center are able to receive their obstetrical care at the Maternal Care Center (MCC), a high-risk obstetrics clinic located in the same suite as the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center. This integration of maternal and fetal care enhances the overall experience for patients and their families and allows for close collaboration between fetal medicine specialists and obstetricians. Consultation with fellowship-trained maternal-fetal medicine specialists is also available at the MCC for more complicated maternal medical conditions.
For pregnancies complicated by medical problems that are considered high-risk, the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center will collaborate with maternal-fetal medicine specialists from Ascension Seton and UT Health Austin to provide mothers with comprehensive care throughout their pregnancy. Maternal-fetal medicine specialists are highly specialized obstetrician-gynecologists who have completed an additional three years of training to become experts in high-risk pregnancies with diabetes, preterm labor, preeclampsia, and pre-existing maternal conditions.
Dell Children’s has opened a Specialized Delivery Unit (SDU), an 11-bed labor and delivery unit that provides comprehensive care to healthy mothers and their high-risk babies who are being cared for at the Comprehensive Fetal Care Center. The Comprehensive Fetal Care Center is the first and only comprehensive program in Central Texas that provides care for babies with congenital conditions, including care for the mother and baby during pregnancy, delivery of the baby, and care of the baby after birth, all in one place.
If pediatric surgery is needed after delivery, the surgery will be performed at the Dell Children’s Medical Center, a Level I Pediatric Surgery Center. The Dell Children’s surgical program is the only surgical program in the region that is certified by the American College of Surgeons (ASC). This designation is reserved for hospitals that meet the highest standards for surgical care, staffing, training, infrastructure, resources, quality improvement, safety, and data collection. This means babies born with complex congenital conditions who need surgical care have access to pediatric specialists and surgeons who are experts in treating congenital anomalies.
Families will also have access to the Dell Children’s Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which has earned the highest designation possible for its ability to care for the most complex and critically ill infants of all gestational ages. The Dell Children’s NICU cares for neonates as they undergo treatment and recovery and is staffed by neonatologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, and more, who are specifically trained to care for premature and critically ill newborns. Parents can also stay connected to their baby in the NICU via NICVIEW, a webcam streaming system that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing families to observe their infant in real time from any location.
Babies born with congenital heart diseases and defects will have access to the Pediatric Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) at Dell Children’s. The Pediatric CCU is a 24-bed inpatient unit that is dedicated to delivering comprehensive, multidisciplinary heart care and is staffed by pediatric cardiac critical care specialists, nurse practitioners, nurses, and more, who are specifically trained to treat heart diseases and defects in infants, children, adolescents, and adults diagnosed with congenital or acquired heart conditions.
“The Comprehensive Fetal Care Center is made possible through the clinical partnerships that exist between UT Health Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center, and Ascension Seton, which has allowed us to bring together highly specialized providers from across multiple disciplines to execute a truly comprehensive, team-based system of care,” says Dr. Moise.