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>>USF Health OB/GYNs deliver first gorilla born at Busch Gardens

Tampa, FL (Nov. 18, 2005) -- Catherine Lynch, MD, associate professor and director of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at USF Health, has presided over the delivery of plenty of babies at Tampa General Hospital. And on Nov. 18, she delivered the second non-human primate of her career – a baby gorilla at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the first born in the park's 46-year history.

Dr. Lynch and colleague Joan McCarthy, MD, USF assistant professor of OB/GYN, performed a cesarean section on Kishina, the 33-year-old gorilla mom. Kishina had placenta previa – the "afterbirth" was in front of the opening of the cervix, a complication that is life-threatening to mom and baby.

"Aside from the skin being a little thicker than normal human skin, the C-section was otherwise remarkably similar to a standard section," Dr. Lynch said.

At approximately 1:45 p.m., after receiving an urgent phone call and rushing to the zoological hospital that morning, the doctors and veterinarians were relieved to deliver a healthy 5-pound male gorilla. Two USF/TGH neonatologists Robert M. Nelson, MD, professor and chair of pediatrics, and Tom Havranek, MD, assistant professor, helped Busch Gardens veterinary and primate staff care for the new baby.

"Dr. Lynch and the whole team have been a phenomenal asset and great resource for us," said Ray Ball, DVM, Busch Gardens zoological veterinarian.

Dr. Lynch started helping out at Busch Gardens seven years ago when the zoological park began a more active breeding program for endangered primates. Two years ago she performed a C-section on an orangutan who had been in labor for 36 hours.

Dr. Lynch said she has learned a lot about animals through her work with Busch Gardens. "I continue to be fascinated by them and the similarities between apes and humans."



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