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Children’s Mercy Hospital Delivers 500th Newborn In Fetal Health Center

Children's Mercy Hospital

Children’s Mercy Hospital on Wednesday marked the 500th delivery in its high-risk birth center, which raised some eyebrows when it opened four years ago.

Warren Emil was born to Mariah and Tom Schumacher of Knob Noster, Missouri, on the afternoon of Sept. 28.

Early in the pregnancy, doctors discovered that Warren had gastroschisis, a condition in which the intestines stick outside the body.

The Schumachers opted to have Warren delivered at Children’s Mercy so he could quickly have surgery to place the intestines back inside.

The Schumachers made themselves available to reporters Wednesday morning at the hospital, where they told their story.

Mariah recalled being somewhat overwhelmed when she first sought specialized prenatal services.

“We didn’t even know about Children’s Mercy. We don’t really know a lot about Kansas City or even hospitals, because we’ve been so lucky to be healthy,” she said. 

Now 10 days old and recovering from major surgery, Warren is doing well, according to his father.

“His recovery was really fast at the beginning,” Tom said. “He’s a strong little boy.”

Credit Children's Mercy Hospital
Tom Schumacher stands over his son, now 10 days old and recovering from surgery to place his intestines inside his body.

Children’s Mercy opened its Elizabeth J. Ferrell Fetal Health Center in 2011 to provide specialized care for high-risk pregnancies and for infants with health complications that are identified in utero.

At the time, some hospitals and health care providers questioned whether the pediatric hospital should offer obstetric and gynecological services, especially when those services were readily available at many full-service hospitals.

Dr. Tim Bennett, medical director of fetal health services at Children’s Mercy, said the center has since overcome much of that initial skepticism.

“We’ve had a very positive response in the last few years from the physicians in the community to use our services,” Bennet said. “Virtually every delivering physician that I know of in the region is using our services when it’s appropriate.”

Bennett said that following surgery, the prognosis for infants like Warren is “excellent.” Most such patients lead normal lives with no complications.

“We expect Warren will do very well,” Bennett said.

Alex Smith is a reporter for KCUR, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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