Luncheon honors doctor for helping with high-risk pregnancies
A group of moms from around Fairfield County decided to honor a doctor whom they say helped make their high-risk pregnancies easier despite having the odds stacked against them.
The group of moms, spearheaded by Darien resident Leelee Klein, hosted a luncheon Feb. 1 at Wee Burn Country Club to honor perinatologist Richard Viscarello, of Maternal Fetal Care PC in Stamford, for helping them successfully give birth to their children. Of the 60 mothers who attended the luncheon, all were considered high-risk pregnancies because of medical issues, age or the fact they were pregnant with multiple children.
Klein, who had lost one child after she was newly married, organized the luncheon because she felt it wasn't often that people thanked the doctors who had such an impact on their lives.
"When I was pregnant with twins I knew I was in trouble," Klein said. "Dr. Viscarello had a reputation for dealing with multiple births and he's known for getting people through the worst of the worst."
After her experience with Viscarello, Klein decided to invite a few of her friends to the luncheon she was planning and told those friends to spread the word as well. Before long there were more than 60 mothers who wanted to attend the event. "I initially invited a few people thinking it would be a small event, but then it just went viral," Klein said. "There were so many people who wanted to come and they all offered to help out."
The timing of the luncheon couldn't have been better as Viscarello was going through a rough period after he lost a malpractice case brought forth by a Norwalk couple in 2005. The couple sued for $58 million when their baby was born with cerebral palsy and suffered from seizures.
But that case didn't stop Viscarello from caring for at-risk moms.
"He's a pretty remarkable man and 95 percent of his patient base is very supportive of him," Klein said. "He's known for taking challenging cases and he told me he would ,get me as far as he could during my pregnancy."
That reputation for taking on difficult cases would be put to the test when fellow Darien resident Tara LeClerc needed his help when she found out she was pregnant with twins.
"I was a high-risk pregnancy because of my diabetes, and I started to go into labor when I was 23 weeks pregnant," she said. "I was put on medications and bed rest. Dr. Viscarello would visit me every night and stay in constant contact."
Viscarello was able to delay LeClerc's labor until her twins were 28 weeks old and she was also given doses of a steroid that would help strengthen their lung development.
"My babies did tremendously well, and I really have to credit Dr. Viscarello and the hospital for saving their lives," she said.
Viscarello was also able to help out one of LeClerc's family members after her sister-in-law went into labor while visiting LeClerc during Thanksgiving.
"Dr. Viscarello happened to be in the hospital on Thanksgiving, and he took over my sister-in-law's care without even knowing who she was," LeClerc said. "He was able to stabilize her and she stayed at the hospital for two weeks until she could return to Texas. I thought it was such a remarkable thing. He goes above and beyond to help people and I just think the world of him."
Michele Milazzo, like Klein and LeClerc, was looking for a doctor who could handle her high risk pregancy.
"I have only the kindest words to say about Dr. Viscarello and his practice. I was referred to him by numerous women in town after the birth of my first son at 26 weeks gestational age under a different doctor's care," Milazzo said in an email. "I was looking for a high-risk doctor to tell me if I was capable of carrying full term and then hopefully helping me get there. Well, he `delivered' in every sense of the word. It was due to his superior knowledge and care that I had two full-term healthy pregnancies."
Viscarello was unable to be reached for comment at the time of publishing.
Klein said the number of women who attended the luncheon was testament to how Viscarello changed their lives.
"He was just speechless when all of the women spoke about how he helped them. He's a very shy guy," Klein said. "I told him he was the reason so many people showed up. How many people thank their doctors? They change lives everyday."
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