Published on in CHOP News
Patients and family members treated by the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment reunite with doctors and staff at the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.
March 4, 2013 — The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) brought together a unique community of families from across Florida: all former CHOP patients who either underwent fetal surgery to treat conditions before birth, or needed specialized care or surgery immediately after birth. The group gathered at the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL.
This reunion is an offspring of CHOP’s annual Fetal Family Reunion, an ongoing 17-year tradition in which more than 1,200 people from all 50 states gather in Philadelphia each June to celebrate, reconnect with their medical teams, and interact with other families who have experienced similar struggles. Nearly all of the children in attendance were prenatally diagnosed with a birth defect, such as spina bifida or congenital diaphragmatic hernia, that had potentially devastating outcomes.
“Babies with special needs require very specialized and experienced care, both before and after birth. The families gathered here today represent more than 13,000 expectant mothers from around the world to whom we’ve been able to offer hope and support since opening our Center in 1995,” said N. Scott Adzick, MD, surgeon-In-chief at Children’s Hospital and director of the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. “It is truly inspiring to see so many children, who as babies likely could have died, now running around and growing up healthy and strong.”
This Florida reunion was an opportunity for staff and patient families to reunite, celebrate and enjoy a fun-filled family day at a Phillies spring training game. Patients who attended the reunion ranged from several months old to the Center’s very first fetal surgery patient, Roberto Rodriquez, Jr., who is now 16 and threw out the first pitch of the game.
“The high volume of patients we see from around the world with incredibly complex, rare conditions makes all the difference in achieving favorable outcomes,” continued Adzick “Our experienced team are world leaders in fetal surgery, having performed nearly 1,000 fetal surgeries and treated hundreds — and, in some cases, thousands — of patients with a given diagnosis, including over 100 families from Florida alone.”
Ashley Moore, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 215-630-4683, Moorea1@email.chop.edu