February 21, 2014

CAMC Women and Children's Hospital is the only hospital in the state of West Virginia that offers a Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Group (FDTG) and the only center that offers fetal MRI.

"The purpose of FDTG is to offer highly-specialized care to mothers who may be carrying fetuses with known birth defects that may require fetal treatment or intervention before or after birth," said Damian Maxwell MD, FACS, pediatric surgeon, surgical director of the FDTG. The FTDG team coordinates all the treatments and also offers care, counseling and comprehensive support services.

Maxwell brought FDTG to Women and Children's Hospital. His first exposure to this type of treatment was at the Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH). MCH is where Dr. Maxwell completed his fellowship training in pediatric general and thoracic surgery. "MCH established their FTDG in the 1980's, and I was impressed with the comprehensive care that was offered to their patients," said Maxwell.

Seeing this type of exposure, firsthand, inspired him to bring this type of resource model specifically to Women and Children's Hospital, and to West Virginia as a whole. "Historically, we have been offering a fragmented service of this kind at Women and Children's but this model will bring the multidisciplinary group of medical and surgical specialists together monthly to review and orchestrate a care plan for our patients," said Dr. Maxwell.

The FDTG group consists of many highly-trained specialists such as perinatalogy/maternal fetal-medicine, neonatology, pediatric general and thoracic surgery, maxillofacial surgery, pediatric radiology, pediatric cardiology, genetic counseling and social work.

FDTG has many specialists from different departments at Women and Children's who work as a team to provide prenatal diagnosis and treatment of fetal abnormalities. Some services the team provides are detailed fetal ultrasounds, fetal MRI, amniocentesis and more complex fetal interventions. Team members also offer counseling in fetal surgical interventions (together with an obstetrician/perinatalogist) and genetic counseling, including determining the risk of associated anomalies, and risk of recurrence.

Consultations can also be coordinated by the FDTG with specialists and appointments for imaging. Neonatology counseling and perinatal management is provided for patients. All care happens under one roof with maternal, fetal and neonatal care. Therefore, pregnant women have access to all specialists and equipment without moving from site to site. "Patients rarely, if ever, require fetal surgery and the FDTG will identify the patients that do in order to refer them to a fetal center out of state that can provide those services. We care for patients with a host of congenital anomalies for which information can be obtained by accessing our website at camc.org/fdtg," said Maxwell.

If physicians would like to refer patients to the FDTG they can contact the center for maternal-fetal medicine at (304) 388-1599 or Dr. Maxwell's office at (304) 388-1770. The numbers provided are answered during regular working hours and after hour messages are checked daily. A 24-hour hotline that would allow 24/7 access for referrals is currently in the works.

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