Mercy Hospital employees attend ultrasound seminar

Staff reports
Four sonographers from Mercy Hospital recently attended a seminar in Grand Forks to learn more about fetal cardiac anatomy and detecting heart problems in infants. Pictured left to right: Brenna Ward, Luann Thompson, Roxanne Hawley and Brenda Kraft.

Babies deserve a fighting chance. This belief by a Minnesota couple led to an outstanding seminar on the fetal heart, recently held in Grand Forks.  

Four sonographers from Mercy Hospital attended the six hour program. The participants learned fetal cardiac anatomy, protocols for examining and documenting fetal hearts, and how to detect fetal heart pathology.  

There were live demonstrations and the participants learned how to recognize normal and abnormal cardiac anatomy and physiology.

Heather and Pat Thibert supported this ultrasound education and training. Their daughter, Rebecca, was born with a heart defect that was picked up by ultrasound. The OB ultrasound they had was a Level 2, which is a sophisticated ultrasound and not performed locally.

Knowing that the baby had a defect of her heart gave the couple the time to research their daughter’s condition and decide on options. Their daughter Rebecca was born at the University of Michigan where she could have surgery shortly after birth.

Rebecca had major surgery when she was three days old. The physician and his team were among the best in the country and restructured her heart so the right side would do the pumping that the left side could not.

The surgery went well. Rebecca was a fighter and recovered quickly.  About six weeks later, Rebecca’s mom was playing with a giggling and smiling Rebecca. Suddenly, Rebecca began crying very hard and then began struggling to breath. Though attempts were made to help Rebecca, she died due to a blood clot.

Ultrasound technologists need specialized training to detect abnormalities in the heart.

Having this training means that if abnormalities are detected the patients can be sent to specialists.  The families can make better decisions and lives can be saved.

The couple hopes to sponsor more educational programs for sonographers who live in rural areas of North Dakota and Minnesota.

Contact Mercy Hospital Radiology at 662-2131 for any questions on the ultrasound services provided in the Lake Region.