April 8, 2014

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Nine years ago, I was sitting in a meeting with the St. Luke’s CEO when I learned that they were looking to get out of obstetrics and gynecology and maternal fetal medicine. I raised my hand and let them know we were interested to take over. I knew we were about to do something that would change women’s health care in Houston forever. Texas Children’s would assume responsibility for St. Luke’s ob/gyn and MFM services until we were able to build our own facility.

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women opened its doors for inpatient services on March 26, 2012. It was a monumental day for everyone who had been a part of planning and executing this new state-of-the-art hospital. I knew it would make a difference in the lives of countless women. What I didn’t know then was that I would one day have a personal experience at the Pavilion as a family member.

On February 10, 2014 at 6:29 p.m., Clark Wallace was born at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. What a full circle moment. From the day I raised my hand in that meeting with St. Luke’s, to my own grandbaby being born here, it was surreal. This was a very special and exciting experience from a number of different perspectives.

First, it was our son Ben’s first baby. Emily, our daughter, has four sons and one daughter, but they live in Chicago, so this was also our first Texas-born grandbaby. Of course it was also impressive to experience the Pavilion as a grandparent and to be here for such a special moment in my personal life.

My wife, Shannon, and I patiently waited at home to get the news of Clark’s arrival and came to the hospital the following morning to meet the newest grandbaby. To see our Pavilion team in action – from Dr. Belfort to everyone in the delivery suite, the floor nurses, diagnostic and therapeutic services, radiology and pathology, food and nutrition – was incredible. To see it all come together in such a beautiful way and know that it wasn’t just for Clark Wallace but that it’s what all our patients are experiencing was a proud moment for me, both as President and CEO and as a grandfather.

I knew we had the right vision for this new hospital and for the thousands of babies born here every year, including my grandson. I have great pride in knowing that our grandson and daughter-in-law had the very best care. Seeing that care firsthand as member of a patient’s family and knowing it’s the same care every mother and baby receives here was truly an incredible feeling.

Now it might be hard to believe, but I promise I saw Clark smile as soon as he saw me and I might have even heard him say “TCH.” He looked exactly like Ben did when he was born, a really good looking fella with a big head and fat cheeks.

Watching the team at work from a patient family perspective and seeing the quality of care and service – from valet to the delivery room and room service – made me swell with pride for what we’ve created at the Pavilion for Women. It’s one of a kind, and there’s nothing like it in Texas, the U.S. or the world.

March 25, 2014

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Lindsey Gillespie, a Dallas nurse and mom of three young boys, was expecting a routine pregnancy to deliver her fourth child. But during a scheduled ultrasound to determine the gender of the baby, the nurse noticed something odd. After being fully evaluated, doctors suspected placenta percreta, the rarest and most severe form of placenta accreta. When Lindsey could not find a group who routinely treated cases like hers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, she eventually transferred her care to Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston.

And she’s not the only one. The Pavilion for Women has the largest and busiest program in the country for this condition, treating more than 60 cases in the last three years.

“What’s unique to others has now become routine to us,” said Dr. Michael A. Belfort, OB/GYN-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “That strengthens the case for having this type of surgery done by a team that does it all the time and knows how to do it.”

Placenta percreta, the rarest and most severe form of placenta accreta, is a potentially life-threatening condition that can affect any neighboring uterine structure. Placenta percreta (5 percent of all placenta accreta cases) happens when the placenta grows entirely through the uterine wall and attaches to another organ like the bladder. When it involves the urinary bladder, a multidisciplinary approach utilizing a team of physicians and surgeons representing urology, radiology, and obstetrics/gynecology is the key to successful management. Moms who have had previous cesarean deliveries are at an increased risk to developing the condition.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in the 1980s placenta accreta affected 1 in 4,000 pregnancies. Today the rate has spiked, affecting 1 in 533 pregnancies – in large part due to the increased number of c-section deliveries.

This year alone, Belfort estimates that Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women will treat about 30-40 patients with placenta percreta, including Lindsey Gillespie. Five patients are currently awaiting surgery.

While Lindsey was at first nervous to leave her home and give birth in Houston, her husband reassured her she was making the right choice, saying “Wow, you couldn’t be at a better place. The hospital you are delivering at is connected to a children’s hospital, so if anything goes wrong it is right there. That is phenomenal!”

On March 14, Belfort led a team of physicians and neonatologists who performed an Indicated preterm Classical Cesarean section followed by Modified radical hysterectomy on Lindsey. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl and pulled through the surgeries without needing a blood transfusion. While the risks were high, Belfort and his staff were confident and well prepared, with a room full of high-risk physicians, neonatologists and a huge supply of blood, should she have needed a transfusion.

“The safest place to have this kind of surgery is in a place where they do it all the time, have a protocol, have a well equipped and practiced team and are comfortable with this issue,” said Belfort.