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Giving new hope to parents

“He was one of the first doctors we spoke to who was even remotely positive about spina bifida.” Claudine, mum to baby Harvey.

Last year, parents Claudine and David received the devastating news that their third pregnancy in a row would not go smoothly. Their baby had spina bifida.

But their worry turned to hope thanks to the life work of Mater’s Director for Maternal Fetal Medicine, Dr Glenn Gardener. Dr Gardener was determined that he would be able to improve the outcomes for their baby.

A month later, Claudine’s baby became the second person in Australia to undergo in-utero surgery for spina bifida at Mater Mothers’ Hospital, meaning the baby was still in Claudia’s womb when the intricate and high-risk surgery was performed. Months later, Claudine gave birth to the beautiful and very healthy little boy named Harvey.

Dr Gardener has since performed several more successful in-utero spina bifida surgeries at Mater Mothers’ Hospital and continues to work on new ways to improve the outcomes for mothers and their babies in high-risk pregnancies in Australia and New Zealand.

Did you know? Prior to the first surgery being performed, more than 40 specialists from Mater Mothers’ Hospital and the medical team from Vanderbilt University Hospital in the USA simulated a five-and-a-half hour surgery enactment at Mater.

Image: baby Harvey pictured with mum Claudine and Sister Angela Mary, who built a close friendship with the family and has been championing better healthcare for Mater patients and their families for more than 50 years.

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