The Most Precious Gift of All


Vol. 19, No. 1
Winter/Spring 2009

  • The Most Precious Gift of All

  • Winthrop Names John F. Collins President and CEO

  • Relief for Parkinson’s & Other Movement Disorders

  • Winthrop’s Bariatric Surgery Center: Helping Patients Win in the Battle to Lose

  • Winthrop Earns Prestigious Research Accreditation

  • Clinical Trials

  • Advanced Procedure & World-Class Care Provide Back Pain Relief to Patients

  • Yuletide Ball Raises Close to $90,000 in Support of Pediatric Services

  • Winthrop’s International Adoption Program: Connecting Loving Hearts and Healthy Children around the Globe

  • NY Islanders Score Big with Young Patients at Winthrop

  • The Guardian Society – Watching Over Your Future and Winthrop’s

  • Senator Fuschillo “Extends the Holidays” With Loads of Toys for Young Patients at Winthrop

  • Mineola Lions Club Shows Continued Support for Diabetes Education Center

  • Long Island Quilters Society Works of Art on Display at Cancer Center for Kids

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  • Up until the 30th week of her pregnancy, Jennifer Voorhest of Huntington Station and her obstetrician thought everything was progressing beautifully. But then a routine sonogram unexpectedly showed a build up of fluid around her baby’s heart and lungs.

    “The doctor said to my husband and I, ‘There is a specialist that I’d like you to see just as a precautionary measure… but, you’ll need to go there right now,’” recalls Mrs. Voorhest. Without hesitation, Mr. and Mrs. Voorhest traveled from the obstetrician’s office in Plainview to Winthrop in Mineola where they were promptly seen by Martin Chavez, MD, Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Winthrop, and Wendy Kinzler, MD, Director of the Hospital’s Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Program.

    A second, more detailed sonogram at Winthrop confirmed a build up of amniotic fluid around the baby’s pleural cavity (the area surrounding the lungs) – a condition known as chylothorax. An accumulation of fluid in the area can pose several complications – among them, impinging on the normal functioning of the heart.

    1-1 “Chylothorax is a rare condition that can occur spontaneously during pregnancy,” said Dr. Chavez. “The condition must be closely monitored and properly treated as it can be life-threatening.”

    Understanding the seriousness of the situation and the need to remain under close monitoring at the recommendation of Dr. Chavez, Mrs. Voorhest returned to Winthrop just two days later for a third sonogram. Further testing confirmed additional fluid build up within the baby’s pleural cavity, and it became clear that Mrs. Voorhest would need to undergo a procedure to drain the fluid from the baby’s chest.

    “I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to make my daughter healthy,” said Mrs. Voorhest. “Dr. Chavez thoroughly explained all of the options to me, and I felt very comfortable and confident in having the procedure done.”

    Under close monitoring by a team of specially trained doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists, Mrs. Voorhest was prepared for the procedure to drain the fluid that was accumulating around her unborn baby’s lungs. After Mrs. Voorhest was administered an epidural and a drug that would temporarily immobilize the baby, Dr. Chavez passed a needle through Mrs. Voorhest’s abdomen and uterine wall, into the baby’s chest cavity to drain the fluid under the guidance of a sonogram. The procedure yielded immediate results and the level of fluid around the baby’s lungs instantly decreased.

    For the next several days, doctors at Winthrop, including Daniel Kiefer, MD, a fellow in the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program, continued to closely monitor Mrs. Voorhest and the baby until a follow-up sonogram confirmed the recurrence of fluid in the pleural cavity.

    “A second procedure to drain the fluid by way of a fetal pleuro-amniotic shunt was necessary,” said Dr. Chavez. “The benefits of this procedure far outweighed any risks.”

    This innovative procedure, only available at select hospitals nationwide, is performed under local anesthetic and involves positioning a flexible tube between the fetal pleural cavity and the amniotic fluid surrounding the unborn baby. The shunt acts as a drain to prevent additional fluid build up and is removed shortly after the baby is born. Within minutes of undergoing the procedure, a sonogram displayed the dramatic decrease in fluid levels.

    “I saw the sonogram picture and said, ‘Oh my goodness! That’s a different baby!’… that’s how different the before and after photos looked,” said Mrs. Voorhest. While the remainder of her pregnancy required additional monitoring both in the Hospital and at home, Mrs. Voorhest had a full term 39 week pregnancy. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Emily Ryan, who weighed 7 lbs., 7 oz., at Winthrop on December 1, 2008.

    Baby Emily went home with her mom and dad after being monitored in Winthrop’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for just a few days. Today, she continues to do wonderfully and her parents are forever grateful to the Winthrop specialists who helped make that possible.

    “The care we received at Winthrop was absolutely phenomenal! Everyone – all of the doctors, nurses, sonogram techs, and anesthesiologists – took wonderful care of us. The nurses in the NICU were also outstanding,” said Mrs. Voorhest recently. “Anyone experiencing problems during their pregnancy should definitely go to Winthrop – they are lifesavers!”

    A regional healthcare resource committed to the dignity and well being of every patient, Winthrop-University Hospital offers a full range of inpatient and outpatient services, including comprehensive obstetric and gynecological services. Winthrop is a New York State Regional Perinatal Center (RPC), a prestigious designation that recognizes the Hospital’s ability to deliver the highest level of obstetrical and perinatal care. In addition, Winthrop’s comprehensive Children’s Center is a member of the esteemed National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI).

    Under the expert leadership of Anthony M. Vintzileos, MD, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Winthrop, the Department has recently expanded and enhanced its world-class obstetrical services with the addition of Dr. Chavez and Dr. Kinzler in 2008 to the outstanding Maternal-Fetal Medicine team which also includes Genevieve B. Sicuranza, MD, Vice Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Chief of Obstetrics at Winthrop, and Graham G. Ashmead, MD, Vice Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Co- Director of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship Program at Winthrop. Dr. Chavez and Dr. Kinzler are renowned for their expertise as outstanding clinicians, educators and researchers in the field of maternalfetal medicine.

    Approximately 5,000 babies begin their lives each year in Winthrop’s family-friendly New Life Center, a modern, up-to-date facility that offers 16 labor-delivery-recovery rooms, each attractively decorated to provide a comfortable, home-like environment. While the ambiance in the New Life Center is tranquil, expectant moms and dads can feel secure in the knowledge that the sophisticated technology and vast resources of a major teaching hospital are close at hand should a complication develop.

    For more information on obstetrical and gynecological services at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.



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