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Cross-Post: A Pediatric Neurosurgeon Reflects on His Job and the Post-Roe Landscape

By Cross Post, PediatricsNo Comments

From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places that we believe will interest our readers. Today’s post originally appeared in NPR’s Fresh Air on July 28. Dave Davies interviews pediatric neurosurgeon John “Jay” Wellons, III, MD, FAANS, about his memoir “All That Moves Us,” which reflects on his experiences operating on children facing critical illnesses and injuries.

Dr. Wellons relays the story of a 9-year-old pediatric patient in an auto accident in Alabama who had a blood clot pushing her brain. Due to the weather, medevac helicopters weren’t running. Dr. Wellons recounts he arranged for a military Blackhawk to bring her to Birmingham, Ala., for surgery. The surgery was successful, according to Dr. Wellons, “The flicker of the eyes open – that’s a miraculous feeling, Dave, you know, to see somebody wake up after something like that.”

Dr. Wellons also describes an operation on a fetus in the womb, the spine he describes as the size of three grains of rice stacked together. This was surgery to correct a condition that leads to spina bifida.

When asked what he thinks will happen in the post-Roe landscape, Dr. Wellons states, “I can’t tell you how much I think that this ruling is going to affect what it’s like for families to have these substantial — neurologic, cardiac, urologic — encephaloceles where the gut’s outside the body that is hard to be fixed sometimes. Like, we’re going to see a lot more of these now, and we’re going to have to, as a society, understand that we’re going to have to take care of these children. That’s our job. So, yes, I think it’s going to have an impact.”

Click here to access the full interview.

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