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Israeli Doctors Save Cypriot Baby from Deadly Birth Defect

November 21, 2022

by: Ra'anan Ben Tzur ~ Ynetnews

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The Rabin Medical Center in Israel

Monday, 21 November 2022 | Israeli doctors performed life-saving surgery on Stephanie Fontanel’s baby, who was in fetal distress, after she arrived from Cyprus for care in the 28th week of pregnancy.

“We went to five doctors and they all told us to have an abortion because of the severe defect the fetus was diagnosed with,” Fontanel said. “There were two doctors that gave us a 50% chance that the baby would survive after birth, and I was scared to take that risk.

“Despite the doctor here in Israel explaining to me that this is a severe defect with low chances of survival, I felt that I wanted to continue the pregnancy and fight for the baby’s life,” Fontanel said. “Only because of him (the doctor) I felt like it was meant to be. Because of his experience, I had a really good feeling that this was the doctor that would do everything for the procedure to succeed.”

Fontanel was born in Brazil, immigrated with her family to France when she was 18, and then moved to Cyprus at 22. The reason she chose to come to Israel to undergo the surgery was because there are no doctors who treat these types of problems where she lives, the soon-to-be mother explained. Her husband is Israeli.

The purpose of the surgery was to treat the birth defect called diaphragmatic hernia, and it was successfully performed last week at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikvah by Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky, an obstetrician who specializes in fetal medicine.

“Diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect that is seen in one of every 5,000 births. This is a hole in the fetal diaphragm, which is revealed in the neonatal tests,” Dr. Gielchinsky explained. “As a result of this hole, the abdominal organs rise towards the thorax and interfere with the development of the fetal lungs. In severe cases, the fetus’s lungs do not develop and the newborn cannot breathe, and some babies die very close to birth.

“Today, there is an intrauterine surgery, performed in several centers around the world. The point of the surgery is to yield better development of the lungs to the point in which the babies can breath after birth,” he said.

Posted on November 21, 2022

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on November 20, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

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