Did you know one of the most common birth defects is a cleft lip and palate?
July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness Month, a time to bring to light individuals dealing with facial abnormalities.
Cleft lip and palates occur in babies when tissues in the face and mouth don’t fuse properly during pregnancy. The condition is typically identified at birth by a split in the lip and roof of the mouth or a small notch or split in the lip. Causes of the condition include both genetic and environmental factors.
Our Cleft and Craniofacial Team at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital is an American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association accredited program. It is made up of a group of specialists dedicated to delivering comprehensive, interdisciplinary, individualized care to patients with cleft lip and/or palate as well as other craniofacial differences.
The team, under the leadership of Isaac Wornom, III, MD, consists of hand-picked, pioneering specialists in surgery, dentistry, speech therapy and psychology, to name a few. They are all committed to diagnosing and treating patients from prenatal to adulthood. Patients are seen individually. From there, treatment plans are discussed as well as formulated during the team’s monthly meetings.
Jalisa, mother of Janelle (pictured above, left), was kind enough to share her experience with the Cleft and Craniofacial Team at St. Mary’s after her daughter was born with cleft palate.
“Janelle is our fourth child. When she was born with a cleft palate and a recessed tongue last year, I had never known anyone personally who went through this. It was scary at first dealing with a newborn who had a special condition that made it difficult for her to eat. Then Dr. Aboutanos and the team at St. Mary’s stepped in to immediately ease a lot of my worries. They really have been our saviors through this whole process. Without them, I don’t know how we would have been able to get through it. They all really seem to care about Janelle, which is important, since she is our baby.”
Linda Shait, BSN, RN, the team’s dedicated patient care coordinator, helps identify patient needs, provides access to care and navigates the multidiscipline therapies. Sheri, a mom whose son, Jordan (pictured above, right), was born with a cleft condition, cannot thank Linda enough for her help.
“Linda guides us in the right direction, and we are happy with all the doctors we have worked with. Anytime something is not quite right, or I don’t know what’s going on, I just call Linda and she gets me to where I need to be and with whom I need to talk.”
At Bon Secours, we are committed to treating children as they grow and develop. Learn more about the pediatric cleft and craniofacial care services as well as pediatric services we offer at Bon Secours.