First ever blood transfusion in utero performed in Panama City


PANAMA CITY, Fla. – It is a procedure that helps treat unborn babies with anemia and for the first time it was done in Bay County.

It’s called Periumbillical Blood Sampling. A local Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist is the only one in the county who can do it.

Before meeting Dr. Jeff Livingston here at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Michelle Morris was traveling all the way to Pensecola to get the medical care she needed for her unborn baby.

With a RH negative blood type, Morris could have major pregnacy complications.”If you don’t know it could lead up to heart failure and you could loose your baby so being RH negative is very dangerous,” said Morris.

But, thanks to Dr. livingston, her baby boy Greyson is as healthy as can be.

“Women who have RH immunization also known as RH negative, they make antibodies that attack the babies red blood cells if the baby is RH positive that can lead to anemia,” said Livingston.

Livingston, the only maternal fetal medicine specialist in the entire county knew just what to do.

“We transfuse the baby through the moms abdomen into the umbilical cord and then we test the blood to see if the transfusions been successful,” said Livingston.

It’s procedure only applicable to high risk pregnancies with a five percent chance the baby could die.

“This is one of the things that Internal Fetal Medicine can make a difference in outcomes,” said Livingston. “A lot of the times we are just diagnosing and watching, this is something we can actually do something about.”

To Morris, Livingston is a hero and a blessing. 

“When he came out he was not anemic, my first was anemic he had to get a blood transfusion two days later after he was born, but Greyson came out healthy,” said Morris.

Just over two weeks old, baby Greyson is thriving and Morris couldn’t be more happy. She thanks everyone at Gulf coast Medical Center for their state of the art care. 

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