Fetal Surgery Family Reunion at CHOP

Sunday, June 04, 2017 10:20PM
Fetal Surgery Family Reunion at CHOP. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on June 4, 2017.

UNIVERSITY CITY - It was a gathering of miracles in the University City section of Philadelphia.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia hosted about 400 former patients of its fetal surgery program. All were operated on in the womb.

It was nothing short of a miracle that little Luelle Ross was able to walk around the 21st Annual Fetal Surgery Family Reunion at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Sunday.

Before Luelle was even born, doctors said she likely never would walk.

"At our 18-week ultrasound with Luelle, they told us that she was a little girl with spina bifida," Luelle's mother Shelly Ross said.

"Her original prognosis was she was going to be paralyzed from the waist down," Luelle's father Bobby Ross said.

For the Southard family, there was an even grimmer outlook before now Robert, now 17, was born.

"There was a problem, a mass on his neck," Robert's father Robby Southard of Long Island said.

The families are thankful for the incredible work by the doctors and staff at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment.

They also got a chance to give an update to Dr. Scott Adzick, the head of surgery who performed operations on most of the children at the event before they were born or just immediately after.

"There's a variety of things that can be taken care of by fetal surgery, most of which are life-threatening birth defects where the problem causes progressive damage," Adzick said.

It was a day to celebrate all that's been accomplished.

"Don't give up, keep going, get more options, more opinions, never give up," Robert Southard said.

With more time and research Adzick wants to be able to treat even more children. The hopes are to have the crowd of 2,000 grow to much more in the future.
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