BUFFALO, NY – The Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo marked the official opening of Western New York’s first and only Fetal Care Center (FCC) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 4, 2015.

Located inside the Regional Perinatal Center of WNY on the 5th floor of the hospital at 219 Bryant Street, the FCC provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for women and families whose pregnancy is complicated by fetal abnormalities. As the regional quaternary referral center for complicated pregnancies in Western New York, care is coordinated within a single site to ease the burden to families.

Jeffrey R. Johnson, MD, Chief of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Carroll M. Harmon, MD, PhD, Pediatric Surgeon-in-Chief, will serve as co-directors of the FCC and will be joined by physicians from neonatology, pediatric general surgery, pediatric anesthesia, pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric urology, genetics and other pediatric subspecialists as needed.

“The beauty of this new program is that women will be able to come in to the Fetal Care Center and on the same day meet with the high-risk obstetrician, as well as all the pediatric and surgical subspecialists that will be caring for her baby after delivery,” said Dr. Johnson. “This will minimize the amount of travel that a family will be required to do, as many patients may be coming from a distance.”

The primary aim of the FCC is to provide advanced care of congenital or genetic fetal abnormalities, including cleft lip and/or palate, spina bifida, abdominal wall defects, skeletal defects such as clubbed feet and dwarfism, intestinal anomalies, congenital lung lesions, abdominal cysts, and lymphatic malformations. Maternal care will continue to be offered through the Regional Perinatal Center of WNY. The goal of the FCC is to streamline the process of patient care and throughput, from the time of diagnosis until neonatal discharge home.

Patients of the FCC will have access to services such as maternal ultrasound, intrauterine transfusions, fetal MRI, fetal echocardiography, genetic counseling, pediatric surgical subspecialist consultation services, psychological and social support, and assistance with financial resources.

The FCC also offers Shared Decision Making, a new service that is nationally at the forefront of medical care. Shared Decision Making is the collaboration between patients and caregivers to come to an agreement about a health care decision. The service greatly assists patients in making difficult decisions and aims to provide information in a basic fashion so that patients may understand the condition. Patients will have the opportunity to discuss the particular condition, treatments that may be available, and outcomes based on those treatments. Decisions can be difficult as there is often more than one choice that can be made, and there may be no “correct” choice. The choices that are made are based on what is important to each individual.

For more information on the Fetal Care Center at Women & Children’s Hospital, please call (716) 878-1678 or visit www.buffalobaby.org/fetalcarecenter.

Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, a Kaleida Health facility and teaching hospital for the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is the regional center for comprehensive and state-of-the-art pediatric, neonatal, surgical, perinatal and obstetrical services in Western New York and beyond. For more information, please go online at www.wchob.org.