News Room Articles

Ohio State and Children's Form Perinatal Care Program

COLUMBUS, OH - 4/12/2007
A collaboration between Ohio State University Medical Center and Columbus Children’s Hospital offers a unified source of medical care for unborn babies who require specialized attention before, during and after pregnancy.

The new Perinatal Care Center joins together physicians from the maternal-fetal medicine and pediatric specialist groups, respectively, led by Dr. Richard O’Shaughnessy, director of fetal therapy at Ohio State’s Medical Center, and Dr. Donna Caniano, surgeon-in-chief at Children’s.

Once a patient enters the program, a personalized plan will be developed for her to meet all the specialists involved in her care and the care of her baby. Nurse coordinators will work closely with the patient from the time of diagnosis throughout her pregnancy experience, preparing the family for their baby’s delivery and care. The goal is for families to experience a seamless transition from pregnancy to newborn care.

“We have had an excellent working relationship with Children’s Hospital for more than 20 years,” said O’Shaughnessy. “With the technological advances in fetal diagnosis and treatment, there are many advantages to working more closely together.”

Caniano is a nationally recognized expert in the care of newborns with major congenital abnormalities of the gastrointestinal system. She also is regarded as an international expert in pediatric surgical ethics, including prenatal consultation ethics.

“The Perinatal Care Center is a unique collaboration between Ohio State and Children’s which offers our patients – pregnant women, their families and infants with at-risk fetal conditions – the expertise of highly experienced and technically gifted perinatologists, pediatric surgeons, neonatologists and other pediatric specialists who can address all maternal and fetal issues to offer the best outcomes,” said Caniano. “A significant additional benefit of the collaboration will be the ability to conduct maternal-fetal and neonatal services research of the highest caliber which will enable us to provide state-of-the-art patient care.”

O’Shaughnessy has served as director of fetal therapy at Ohio State since 1992. Medical and minimally invasive surgical therapies have been performed extensively at Ohio State’s Medical Center under O’Shaughnessy’s direction. O’Shaughnessy has received national recognition for his work in fetal blood transfusion for women affected by fetal anemia.

O’Shaughnessy and Caniano have expanded perinatal care to include fetuses who will need surgery or treatment after birth, such as fetuses with complex heart defects, or those with gastroschisis, in which the intestine is positioned outside of the abdomen.

“Pregnant women can feel confident that they are receiving the best available care for their at-risk fetus, because we have brought together a highly experienced team led by nationally recognized experts,” Caniano added. “Our patients will have access to all of the specialty services we have to offer, such as the pediatric cardiac intervention program at Children’s and the maternal-fetal medicine program at OSU.”

“With modern medical advances, Ohio State’s Medical Center and Columbus Children’s Hospital can provide more services than ever before,” said O’Shaughnessy. “These advances point to the fact that health care starts long before birth. Despite the fact that an unborn fetus has no name, Social Security number or birth date, the fetus is nonetheless a patient, and our combined program will give these babies their best chance to get off to a good start in life.”
 For more information, or to make an appointment at the Perinatal Care Center, call (877) 311-2229.

Betsy Samuels, Medical Center Communications, (614) 293-3737 or 
Pam Barber, Columbus Children’s Hospital, (614) 722-4595 or

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