“Maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) is just a wonderful area. There are the intellectual challenges and the good you do. …the fact that you are part of one of the most intense and emotional part of the lives of a mother and usually a partner. It is different from anything, and from other specialties in medicine. For me, it’s the best, the most!
“You have to be kind of like Sherlock Holmes, collecting clues – a detective using ultrasound and blood work, fetal monitoring, etc. You gather all of these clues and you try to reach a diagnosis and a treatment plan that will benefit both mother and baby. And sometimes you call in other specialties including: cardiology, endocrinology and nephrology.
“In regular obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) you typically have one child per mother and you do regular surveillance. But when anything goes astray, you go to MFM. In MFM essentially something is at a higher risk of going wrong or has already gone wrong,” says Aviram, an attending physician in MFM at Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, part of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
An MFM specialist is an OB-GYN who has completed an additional two to three years of education and training in medical, surgical, obstetrical, fetal and genetic complications of pregnancy and their effects on both mother and fetus, according to the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
As Aviram noted, MFM specialists are high-risk pregnancy experts. According to the MFM society, “High risk” labels may be attached to pregnant women with chronic health problems including: hypertension, obesity, renal disease, HIV and diabetes, or to women facing unexpected problems during pregnancy such as: early labor, bleeding, separation of the placenta and high blood pressure. Women carrying “multiples” also often are considered high risk.
In other cases it’s the fetus requiring a specialist. If birth defects or growth problems are identified, prenatal treatments including blood transfusions and surgery can be performed.
Aviram attended medical school at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine after an IDF stint as a human resources officer. Now he’s a captain in the reserve branch of the army medical corps… CLICK HERE TO READ DR. AVRIM’S FULL STORY
The APF Fellowship Program
Today, Israel has a ratio of just 3.1 doctors for every 100 people. Likewise only, 6.8 people per 1000 graduate with medical studies degrees. Both statistics put Israel near the bottom among the 36 nations surveyed by the OECD and are indicators of a significant shortage of qualified physicians throughout the country. This shortage of doctors adds to Dr. Alshiek’s remarkable story and is one of the reasons APF has committed to our Fellowship Program.
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Since our founding in1951, APF has played a significant role in helping to develop more than 1500 fellows like Dr. Barac who have gone on to be part of the next generation of Israel’s healthcare leaders. It is only through the generosity and commitment of our members and supporters that we are able to continue this program as a tangible answer to the shortage of physicians facing the people of Israel.
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