Sick children get help

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"Center for congenital malformations" founded in Frankfurt

At the University Clinic in Frankfurt, various specialist disciplines have merged to form the "Center for Congenital Abnormalities" and thus founded the first center of this kind in Hesse, from now on making treatment of affected children according to the latest medical standards possible.

"Child with malformations is a big shock"
Quite a few children are born with congenital malformations, which initially means that most parents are overwhelmed, because "a child with malformations is a big shock for the parents concerned," says Thomas Klingebiel, Director of the Clinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Frankfurt. They are deeply unsettled about the situation, so it would be extremely important to know that the child is receiving optimal medical care.

Interdisciplinary collaboration enables medical care at the highest level
In order to be able to offer newborns and children with malformations the best possible support, the first “Center for Congenital Malformations” is being created at the University Hospital Frankfurt, in which medical care at the highest level is to be guaranteed through the interdisciplinary collaboration of various university expert areas: “We want to use our center to ensure that the children receive the best possible medical care and at the same time that the parents do not remain alone with their worries, ”says the heads of the center, Professor Rolf Schlößer, Professor Udo Rolle and Professor Frank Louwen.

Parents feel that they are in good hands at Frankfurt University Hospital
Specifically, this is about cases like the three-year-old Ben: At first glance, completely healthy, there were problems during pregnancy and during childbirth, because Ben is suffering from a so-called "gastroschisis", a congenital malformation of the abdominal wall, the had already been recognized in the 15th week of pregnancy, as reported by the "Frankfurter Rundschau" (FR). After this diagnosis, Ben's mother was referred to the University Clinic in Frankfurt. Ben was then brought back to the abdominal wall after the birth of the intestine, which had grown outwards. Afterwards, the first thing was to breathe a sigh of relief, because "everything went well at first, but then Ben was unable to keep any food and had to be operated on again", Yvonne Puxbaumer told the "FR", but since then everything has gone well and the child has had No more problems. Despite the difficult time, the mother felt "very comfortable and in good hands" at the Frankfurt university clinic and the clinic also remained in positive memory for her husband: "We were taken away from the fear and we were not just any number."

About five percent of newborns are born with malformations
Cases like Ben are not uncommon, because according to the University Hospital Frankfurt, about five percent of newborns in Germany are born with malformations, such as a cleft lip or cleft palate, a clubfoot or a congenital heart defect, which in many cases occurs immediately a specific therapy is required at birth: "In order to guarantee good work, this requires the cooperation of various specialist disciplines," says Dr. med. Boris Wittekindt, medical coordinator for children with congenital malformations. Accordingly, children, plastic facial and neurosurgeons would work in the new center, but also specialists from dermatology and orthopedics, as well as experts in ear, nose, ear and eye medicine. Constant exchange is particularly important: "We have been meeting weekly for ten years now and talking about children with malformations," adds Prof. Dr. Frank Louwen, Head of Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine.

Central goals: transparency and comprehensibility
It was also important to offer the parents of the affected children the best possible support, so "one of the main goals of the new center for congenital malformations [...] is to make the complex treatment paths more transparent and understandable for the parents of the affected children", said current press release from Frankfurt University Hospital. Accordingly, the parents would be accompanied in all diagnostic and therapeutic steps from the time of the prenatal diagnosis, and in a special consultation by representatives of pediatric surgery, neonatology and pediatric cardiology, together with the prenatal physicians, before the birth and advised about the possibilities of treating congenital malformations. In addition, according to the university clinic, “an interdisciplinary consultation is also being established to further treat patients after acute care […], in which, among other things, psychological and social support is offered.” (No)

Photo credit: Michael Bührke /

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