STL Moms: St. Louis surgeon one of few doctors in US to perform in utero fetal surgery, says surgeries remain essential

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ST. LOUIS – Fetal surgeries can mean the difference between a child being able to walk one day or using a wheelchair. Fox 2 reporter Molly Rose discusses why we are seeing more of them in St. Louis right now.

Only some doctors can perform these types of surgeries and due to COVID-19 these types of procedures have been put on hold at some hospitals surrounding the state of Missouri. But here in St. Lous at Barnes Jewish Hospital Molly spoke with one of the few surgeons in the country who performs these surgeries.

Dr. Bebbington with the Washington University School of Medicine says these surgeries remain essential. He says for most of these cases it’s an emergency situation and the surgery can’t be delayed without putting the health of mother and baby at risk.

These types of surgeries have been offered in St. Louis for about 3 years now. An entire team works together in the operating room. There are as many as 35 people when they are doing a spina bifida surgery. There’s also a very limited window of when these surgeries can be done, one for spina bifida must be done between 24 and 26 weeks.

Dr. Bebbington explains during this pandemic they are following all guidelines and precautions. All patients are screened and temperature checked before even coming into the hospital. He says he understands it’s a stressful time for people already, especially those traveling for such serious surgery and he says the hospital is offering a lot of support to those families.

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