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Cindy Sanders, 404-712-7626, 404-686-5500, ID# 12830 (pager)
Erin Bacher, 404-686-2830
June 10, 2003


Teamwork, Timing And Flexibility At Emory Crawford Long Hospital Save Mother And Baby

Physicians Perform High-Risk Delivery in Cardio Thoracic Suite

ATLANTA -- Imagine the joy a woman feels when she learns she is expecting a baby. Now imagine that same woman being told she has a 75 percent chance of dying during childbirth.

Just a few months ago, Marietta resident Nam Kim was grappling with that very harsh and frightening reality. Shortly after becoming pregnant, Kim learned she suffered from mitral valve stenosis, a condition which restricts blood flow through the heart and often leaves victims short of breath. Doctors believed Kim’s heart condition was the possible result of undiagnosed rheumatic fever as a child.

Many area physicians told Kim her heart simply could not handle the strain of a high-risk delivery. But Dr. Eric Brown, a physician practicing at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, agreed to take her case.

"I was so scared," said Kim. "Every cardiologist warned me about the dangers. But when I followed up with Dr. Brown, he said, ‘let’s do our best.’"

Brown assembled a top-notch team of clinical experts to prepare, plan and execute a seemingly impossible feat: a Caesarian section delivery at 32 weeks. The team included specialists from a wide array of departments including perinatology, cardiology, cardio thoracic surgery, neonatology and anesthesiology.

Rather than performing the C-section in the Maternity Center of the new Crawford Long Hospital, doctors brought Kim down to a cardio thoracic suite on the surgical floor so, if necessary, open-heart surgery could be performed immediately following the birth.

"The labor and delivery staff was amazing," said Brown. "They had to be so flexible to work in such unfamiliar surroundings. And the delivery was a very crucial time for the patient. She was at the very end of having any functional cardiac capacity."

"I think the reason this case was so successful is due, in part, to the design of our new hospital. Labor and delivery, surgery and the Carlyle Fraser Heart Center are practically stacked on top of each other on floors 2, 3 and 4. We were only an elevator ride away from where the patient needed to be."

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003, Kim gave birth to a 3-pound, 5-ounce baby girl named June Hee in the presence of nearly 15 Crawford Long staff. The preemie was rushed upstairs to the neonatal intensive care unit under the direction of Dr. Ann Critz.

"Ms. Kim’s prenatal care allowed her to postpone the birth long enough so the baby was developmentally mature," said Critz. "It really reduced the risk of the baby suffering from serious problems that we often see among premature infants here. Although the baby was in the NICU for 45 days, she did very well. We were very pleased with her progress and happy to see things turn out so well for this sweet family."

Fortunately, Kim was able to forego open heart surgery until Wednesday, March 26, giving her time to recover from her C-section. Both mother and baby are now at home and doing well.

"I didnít know so many staff were involved," said Kim. "But they were all so supportive."

About Emory Hospitals
Emory Hospitals include Emory University Hospital, a 587-bed hospital located on the Emory University campus in northeast Atlanta, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, a 583-bed, community-based hospital in midtown and Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, a 100-bed hospital located on the Emory campus. Emory Hospitals are components of EMORY HEALTHCARE, the most comprehensive health care system in Atlanta. Other components of EMORY HEALTHCARE are: The Emory Clinic, the Emory Children's Center, the jointly owned Emory-Adventist Hospital, and EHCA, LLC, a limited liability company created in collaboration with HCA Healthcare.

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