Story by: Dana Matukas on November 16, 2020
Doctors have a new way to detect heart and other conditions in Western Kentucky babies even before they’re born.
Norton Children’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine, on the campus of Med Center Health, Bowling Green, Kentucky, recently installed state-of-the-art diagnostic and ultrasound equipment. The equipment is designed to identify complex anomalies in unborn babies through early detection so that a plan can be created for the best care during and after birth.
“Expertise in fetal diagnosis and treatment can help make a significant difference for a mother and her baby throughout pregnancy and delivery,” said W. Vance Cuthrell, M.D., maternal-fetal medicine physician with Norton Children’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine. “Being able to closely monitor the pregnancy and being armed with critical information allows the doctors and families to make the best decisions for care.”
Each year in the United States, some 40,000 children are born with congenital heart defects, which in Kentucky translates to over 500 children annually. Moreover, 45 deaths per year are attributed to heart defects in Kentucky. Early identification with advanced ultrasound technology may help some of these patients receive lifesaving treatment.
“This technology will allow for the earliest identification of conditions that may require immediate treatment after birth,” said Lucinda T. Wright, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist with Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, who sees patients at Norton Children’s Outpatient Center – Bowling Green.
“It will impact so many lives in Western Kentucky,” Dr. Wright said.
Every pregnancy is different. The specialists at Norton Healthcare are ready to help during a routine pregnancy or a complex one.
Community support for the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation helped make purchasing the equipment possible. The Harold, Juanita, David, Dennis & Gary Koon Charitable Foundation provided a $100,000 gift, and Dance Big Red, an annual fundraiser by Western Kentucky University students, provided additional support this past March.
“We appreciate the Harold, Juanita, David, Dennis & Gary Koon Charitable Foundation and Dance Big Red for supporting Norton Children’s Hospital over the years,” said Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D., R.N., CFRE, senior vice president and chief development officer, Norton Healthcare. “This gift will allow us to continue to provide the most comprehensive care to the children and families in Western Kentucky.”
Norton Children’s is Kentucky’s biggest provider of maternal-fetal medicine and pediatric heart services. Norton Children’s Hospital, in Louisville, has one of the nation’s largest Level IV neonatal intensive care units, and has regional clinics in Kentucky in Bowling Green, Paducah, Owensboro, Elizabethtown and Frankfort. Norton Children’s Outpatient Center – Bowling Green quickly has become one of the region’s fastest-growing clinics for pediatric heart care.