#ShoreHealthcareHeroes: Maternal Fetal Medicine

Perinatology sonographers Vanessa Druker and Misty Huegel 

April 21, 2020

Pregnancy is nerve-wracking enough, especially for first-time moms. They may wonder if they’re eating the right foods, exercising enough or too much, taking the right vitamins, or getting enough sleep. But add fears of COVID-19 and a high-risk pregnancy into the equation, and this time can be incredibly hard on pregnant women. 

At Penn Maternal Fetal Medicine’s Somers Point office, located in Shore’s Medical Office Building, the team is taking every possible precaution to protect their patients in the face of this uncertain virus. 

Pregnant women might need the assistance of Maternal Fetal Medicine for a variety of reasons, whether they have gestational diabetes, abnormalities detected in a fetal ultrasound or high blood pressure. These patients require more frequent visits to their provider, many of which cannot be conducted via telehealth because they require ultrasounds and fetal monitoring. 

Lisa Lappin is the nurse manager for Penn Maternal Fetal Medicine, where she has worked with the MFM team to adapt to COVID-19. The team consists of front desk staff, nurses, sonographers and physicians and they’re all working hard as champions of women’s health. 

“We’re not seeing as many patients right now because of new guidelines about what types of visits are considered essential. We are reducing the amount of people who come into the office to protect the patients and our essential staff,” Lappin said. 

Patients must wear a mask upon entering the building, so donations of these fabric masks from people in the community have really helped.

“We’re also having our patients call from their car when they arrive, and we let them know when it is okay to come in. We’re trying to have no more than one or two people in our waiting room at any given time. We also screen our patients over the phone for any viral symptoms. There are no visitors allowed with the patient for their ultrasound, blood work, or other procedures,” Lappin said. 

Lappin couldn’t be more proud of the team and how they’ve pulled together to ensure patients receive the best care possible, while keeping everyone safe. 

“This is an incredibly stressful time, but our staff continue to show enthusiasm for taking care of our pregnant patients and are doing whatever is necessary. We are all in this together.”

Lappin said one thing is clear – they are all eager to have their patients and staff back together as a family. She also has some words of advice for others in light of the stress many people are facing. 

“I think this experience has taught us all to appreciate the life we have, and respect others. Try to say a kind word, do a good deed, have faith and appreciate the moment.”