Patient Success Stories

Patient Profile: High-Risk Obstetrics

Ensuring women and their babies get the best possible care

Elyse Sacco was a 22-year-old mother of one when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, leaving her with a cervix too weak to remain closed during pregnancy. As a result, Sacco's next child was born prematurely and required a cesarean section. With her most recent pregnancy, her condition was made even more critical - she was having twins, which required constant monitoring to ensure the health of her little ones.

Daniel Witkowski, MD, board-certified OB/GYN on staff at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH), was Sacco's physician during her pregnancy with the twins. He frequently met with Sacco to monitor the babies and supervise her health.

"I am thankful I had Dr. Witkowski to help me through this pregnancy," said Sacco. "He was great to me and my husband, and he took the time to make sure all of our questions were answered. Not only is he a professional, he's a very compassionate person."

Twice the medical attention leads to two healthy babies
In addition to meeting with Dr. Witkowski every two weeks, Sacco also saw Karen O'Brien, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine physician with Tufts-New England Medical Center on staff at MWH, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.

"Two minds are always better than one," said Dr. Witkowski. "When multiple physicians look at a patient's chart and follow the progress of her pregnancy, potential problems or concerns are immediately addressed and the best-possible means of treatment or follow-up studies can be done appropriately."

Ultrasounds, non-stress tests and counseling sessions with Dr. O'Brien made Sacco feel secure that she and her babies were in good hands. Non-stress tests, performed in MWH's new non-stress lab, evaluate babies in the womb to ensure optimal health for mother and child.

Special Care Nursery takes quality care to the next level
The decision to deliver at MWH was an easy one for Sacco.

"I had my older daughter there and loved the experience," she said. "My babies were there for two weeks, and the staff treated them as if they were their own."

In addition, Sacco said the Level II Special Care Nursery - a unit for babies who have difficulties at birth and need medical attention - provided the expert care she needed while allowing her to remain close to her two older children and her new babies.

"The nurses and physicians were kind and compassionate," Sacco said, "and their expertise gave me the confidence I needed to get through the difficult time."

Through a partnership with Tufts-New England Medical Center, the Special Care Nursery is staffed 24 hours a day by neonatologists and certified neonatal nurses.

MWH also provides a continuum of care from prenatal to post-partum care. Childbirth education classes discuss anesthesia options for moms considering epidural, and family education classes - from breastfeeding and infant massage to infant CPR - educate and equip parents for new arrivals.

For moms like Sacco who are expecting twins, triplets, or more, the Expecting Multiples class provides a range of instruction, techniques, and tips to ease the process.

"I'll never forget the kindness of the physicians and staff, from the nurses in the non-stress lab to the caring professionals in the Special Care Nursery," said Sacco. "From our first day, they made us feel like we were the only parents there. They cuddled the babies and took such great care of them - their love for what they do moved me. I thank them every day for my twins, who are thriving happily."

For more information
To find an OB/GYN, to receive a mom-to-be kit, or for more information on genetic counseling, maternal-fetal medicine, or our Special Care Nursery, please call 1-800-540-9191 or visit our Maternity section.

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