Monday, July 23, 2012

The Tiniest Patients

MSNBC covers the story of Addison Hope Kelly.  When Addison was a fetus around 6 months gestation, ultrasound revealed she had a tumor between her heart and lungs, making it unlikely that Addison would survive.  Addison's parents chose fetal surgery, which would give Addison a 50/50 chance of survival.  Although the process caused Mary Kelly, Addison's mother, to go into early labor, ultimately Addison survived.  She is now 5 years old and will begin kindergarten this fall.

The article goes on to discuss the increase in fetal surgery over the past years and the improvements researchers are expecting in years to come.
Dr. Alan Flake, director of CHOP’s Center for Fetal Research, is working with stem cells from adult bone marrow to develop a treatment for the blood disorder sickle-cell anemia that could be administered 12 to 14 weeks into pregnancy. Clinical trials of the therapy should begin in a year or two.
In the longer term, [Dr. Scott Adzick] said, researchers are looking at treating other single-gene disorders that can be diagnosed early in pregnancy.
Finally, Adzick said more work is being done for spina bifida. A tissue-engineering technique could be used to protect the spinal cord opening, essentially working as a "band-aid" early on in pregnancy, with repair being done after birth.
It is amazing to consider what technology is capable of.  It's also interesting to me that in some cases the fetus is so greatly valued that tremendous resources are used to ensure the highest levels of fetal health and safety, while in other cases the fetus is valued so little that steps are taken to ensure fetal death.  


Anonymous said...

I love that through technology there is increased hope for those who highly value the lives of the tiniest humans. Also, your last sentence reflects my sentiments exactly. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, if you go to any of the US Fetal Surgery Websites

----they define the unborn as "patient" "person" "baby" "child" funny how the definition changes with abortion.

Anonymous said...

It's the 100% truth that a fetus is the same thing as a baby, that's why abortion should be illegal and obama should be impeached.