Dana Salmonese’s pregnancy was anything but routine. As she explains in this Vital Signs episode, her twins were “not supposed to be here,” after a near miscarriage, a rare fetal disorder, and premature delivery. Dana credits her sons’ survival to Martin Chavez, MD, director of maternal and fetal medicine and fetal surgery at NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island, who was drawn to his specialty by the honor of “being able to help a patient that hasn’t even arrived in our world yet.”
Dr. Chavez treated Dana and her unborn children in March 2020 after diagnosing twin–twin transfusion syndrome, a disorder in which blood flows unequally from the placenta to the developing fetuses. He performed fetoscopic laser photocoagulation, which sealed the irregular blood vessels of the placenta, at NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island, which has Long Island’s only fetal surgery program.
The procedure to save the Salmonese twins was successful. But two weeks later, Dana’s water broke, and Dr. Chavez could not admit her to the hospital—the New Life Center maternity unit was becoming a temporary COVID-19 unit. Dr. Chavez monitored Dana through telemedicine and in-person visits before admitting her to the hospital due to preterm labor.
A few weeks later, the boys were born prematurely, but were healthy. They then spent a few months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at NYU Langone Hospital—Long Island. Today, the twins are thriving toddlers. As Dana says, “None of it would be possible without the surgery I got.”