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South Carolina Mother Calls Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia 'A Huge Blessing' After Fetal Surgery For Unborn Child Amid Pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Medical treatment during a pandemic is a challenge for even minor issues. Imagine needing fetal surgery to help your unborn child. A family from South Carolina found that kind of help here at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The joy of expanding their family turned to terror when Jasmine Kennedy learned her unborn baby had spina bifida.

"Surgery was never a question, I knew I had to do that to help my daughter," she said.

But getting fetal surgery during a pandemic was a challenge for the couple who lives in South Carolina. They found hope at CHOP with its world-renowned center for fetal surgery.

"It's been a whirlwind," Kennedy said. "We didn't know what we were going to do, we just knew we needed to get here, get treatment for our daughter."

The surgery involves operating on the fetus, still in the womb to repair damage caused by the birth defect. Extra precautions are being taken now, to guard against COVID-19.

"They said she did great, we had no complications. So far so good," Kennedy said.

"What was it like having fetal surgery in the middle of a pandemic?" CBS3's Stephanie Stahl asked.

"It was crazy," said Kennedy. "CHOP has been a huge blessing in my life."

Now Kennedy has to stay in Philadelphia until the baby is delivered in early August. The pandemic excluded most traditional options.

"Hosts for Hospitals is an amazing program. I had no idea this was even a thing," she said.

The organization finds local homes for medical visitors, Kennedy was placed at a sheep farm in Newtown Square.

"Having a home has been a blessing, just having someplace to heal and be safe and happy. The hosts have been amazing," she said.

Because of the pandemic Hosts for Hospitals says there's an urgent shortage of housing and some patients not coming in for care because no place to stay.

To learn more about how to get involved with Hosts for Hospitals, click here.

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