"Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean." -Ryunosuke Satoro. The wisdom underlying the power of teamwork has never been so true as when it is applied to delivering medical care. From restructuring care teams to center around patients and their families to encouraging collaboration between medical centers, improvements in medicine rely on increasing teamwork. A collaborative in Ohio has recently shown the tremendous benefits that can be achieved in the field of obstetrics when groups team up to prevent preterm birth through better access to progesterone treatments.
In the first months of life, newborns rely on their mothers’ immune systems to protect them from infections like pertussis. Pertussis infection, known as whooping cough, has become more common in infants who are too young to be vaccinated and thus protected against the illness. For these infants, their best defense is the Tdap vaccine given during the third trimester of pregnancy. Given the rising incidence of pertussis in newborns, OBGYNs have become interested to know exactly when during pregnancy is the best time to give the Tdap vaccine.
A twenty-two year old Brazilian woman gives birth to her second daughter and is surprised in the delivery room. Her baby girl’s head looks drastically different from her first daughter’s. What happened? she asks her obstetrician. She did not have any ultrasounds in her third trimester, so the diagnosis of microcephaly is a surprise. However, she does recall a few days at the end of her first trimester when she had a mild fever and a rash. She also recalls many mosquito bites throughout her pregnancy. Her doctor tells her that she was probably infected with the Zika virus. Can her doctor tell her that Zika caused the microcephaly? Have scientists proven a causative connection?