I am a pediatric surgeon specializing in neonatal and fetal malformations. I provide standardized surgeries and innovative, leading-edge therapies to pediatric and fetal patients.
My philosophy and approach to care is based on my medical background and training. When I work with patients and families, I explain and clarify the basis and features of the condition and provide a rationale for treatment.
As the endoscopic fetal surgery director at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, I try to be comprehensive and calm any fears and concerns.
My patients receive the same treatment and personal care I would want for myself or my family. I spent many years of my life acquiring precious medical knowledge and experience through medical school, residency, specialty training and my surgical practice. I attended many courses and conferences and learned from many mentors. I completed all of this so that I could provide the best possible care to my patients.
I believe that I have a moral obligation to share my experience with the new, younger generation. I teach and educate medical students and fellows to continue knowledge transfer in my field. I want to contribute a new treatment or discovery through research that will improve care for my patients.
Just after finishing medical school, I learned that working with children is different and amazing. They’re delicate and fragile, and yet surprisingly strong, resilient and equipped with a large capacity for recovery. Pediatric surgery allows me to treat many conditions located throughout the body.
With a focus in neonatal surgery, I’ve treated children with congenital malformations. A pregnant mom I consulted decided to interrupt her pregnancy because her son was diagnosed with a complete cleft-lip palate. She was born with the same condition and didn’t want her son to suffer as she did. I told her that surgical advances were superior, and kids can do better, but she was firm on her decision.
This experience inspired me to find ways to intervene earlier and provide care for babies with congenital malformations before birth. The fetus is my patient, too, and I discovered fetal surgery was evolving into a new medical field. I immersed myself in prenatal intervention. I trained for it, started a pioneer program in Europe and built a research lab.
My research focuses on understanding the physiopathologic mechanisms of pediatric and fetal congenital malformations and finding solutions or therapeutic strategies to improve current treatments. To achieve these goals, I use basic and translational research. I study myelomeningocele (spina bifida) and congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). My other research interests include fetal cleft lip-palate, amniotic bands, gastroschisis, cell therapy and tissue engineering. I developed several animal models for intrauterine correction of different fetal conditions. My lab work focuses on promoting translational research for use in people.
I am honored to have pioneered a fetal surgery program in Europe that started in 2002 and includes clinical practice and research — which also afforded me a letter of recognition from the Minister of Health. I moved to Cincinnati Children’s to lead the fetal surgery program and introduce innovative therapies. I also enjoy mentoring new and growing fetal surgery programs worldwide.
When I’m not working, I dedicate much of my time to my family. We play sports together, watch movies and travel to remote places around the globe. I was a rugby player for many years. Now, I try to stay in shape by running and playing soccer.