Doctors at the Tzu Chi Hospital in Hualien successfully delivered a baby with a severe congenital defect, after several doctors advised the mother to have an abortion. After three weeks of treatment, mother and baby returned home and can look forward to a normal life together.
The baby was suffering from gastrochisis, a defect in the embryo; it is a hole of three-five centimeters near the umbilical cord, through which the abdomen protrudes. The mother knew from the third month of pregnancy that her baby suffered from this condition; when she went to different hospitals for check-ups, each doctor suggested that she have an abortion, to avoid complications. But she was determined to have her baby and ignored the advice of the doctors. It was only in the seventh month that she went to Tzu Chi’s main hospital in Hualien for a pre-natal examination; she was received by Dr. Wei Yu-Chi, director of the obstetrics and gynecology department. He discovered that she had not received the pre-natal check-ups on time.
“Gastroschisis is a condition of congenital defect in growing embryo, a 3-5 centimeter hole forming near the umbilical cord, causing the intestines to expose in the amniotic cavity,” said Dr. Wei. “The cause of this condition is still unknown.”
In fact, babies with this defect can be delivered normally delivered. After the birth, doctors must replace the intestines and stitch the abdomen; if this is done, children with this condition can still grow like other people. “I felt this mother’s love and care for her child,” he said. He thoroughly checked the baby’s condition from head to toe, through an ultrasonic examination. Although gastroschisis is normally not caused by chromosomes, Dr. Wei ran a chromosome test just in case.
After a thorough examination to ensure that the baby had no other conditions, the mother stayed calmly in the hospital for other routine ante-natal check-ups. In February, Dr. Wei, together with Dr. Chang Yu-Chun, a pediatrician, and Dr. Pong Hai-Chi, a surgeon, delivered the baby, helped by excellent teamwork from the nurses. After the delivery, Dr. Pong successfully completed the surgery to repair the gastroschisis. The baby recovered well, thanks to the doctors and the caring nurses, and finally went home with her mother this week.
“Because gastroschisis causes the intestines to be exposed outside the stomach, in the amniotic cavity, it looks a little scary,” said Dr. Wei. “However, this condition is rarely combined with other abnormalities, so the possibility of curing it is very high. It also does not leave too many after-effects. As for the method of childbirth, natural birth is preferable since it means less burden for the protruding organs and less possibility of infection.”
He wants to remind pregnant women that, if an abnormality is detected during pre-natal examinations, they should go to a large-scale medical center or hospital for thorough examinations and follow-up.