Late on a Friday night, our L&D received a call from Dr. S (who delivers at Sisters). Her patient, KW, who lived in West Seneca, was experiencing profuse bleeding and she advised her to come to the closest hospital. Dr. S remained on the phone with the patient until she arrived at the hospital. The patient had experienced a complete placental abruption and the baby has passed by the time she arrived at the hospital. Due to the profuse bleeding, our laborist, Dr. Mas moved her quickly to the OR to perform a hysterotomy (surgical removal of an expired fetus) in an effort to stem her bleeding and save KW's life. Dr. S came to assist and support the family and patient through this trying and difficult time.
I had the opportunity to speak with both KW and Dr. S. Dr. S expressed that she knew the patient had made the right decision to come to Mercy when she made the initial contact with our midwife, Linda Lillis. While listening to Dr. S on the phone, Linda gave direction to the team to begin the preparation of the OR, notification of the laborist, Dr. Mas and the anesthesiologist, Dr. Periera. Dr. S continued to explain that when the patient was approaching the hospital, KW could see a nurse with a wheelchair in the front circle, shivering in the cold, waiting to expedite her transfer to L&D. KW reiterated that during her ride to the hospital, she already felt that the baby had passed and she began to panic, believing that she was going to die, as well. When KW saw Shannon Delaney, RN, she instantly felt that she had hope that she would not die. Dr. S stated that when she heard that a nurse was actually waiting for her patient, she too was greatly relieved.
In the 12 minutes that KW and her husband traveled to the hospital, the L&D OR was prepared, a room readied, the team assembled, blood bank notified. Jenna Stelmach, Molly Sprada, Rashida Haynes and Jillian Olwewniczak, ORT assisted Stacey Beutel and Shannon Delaney. Marcy Doyle assisted, as well. An immediate ultrasound confirmed KW's assumption that her baby had indeed passed. Dr. Mas and the team became very concerned with the amount of blood loss that she was experiencing. The team moved KW quickly to the OR for an emergent hysterotomy. She told me that the last thing she remembered seeing in the OR was Dr. Mas's eyes. She recalled them as kind but very concerned. She said that she knew she was in good hands. When she awoke, Dr. S was with her family supporting them. She was most appreciative of the kind and excellent care that Stacey Beutel, RN provided to her all night long. The L&D staff worked diligently to help the family make memories with their baby. The baby was washed, dressed, photographed and blessed by Chaplain Valarie De Cathlineau. Molds of the baby's feet were made, as well as prints of those very large feet. KW felt they were the baby's distinguishing feature and was very proud that they were too large to fit in our traditional heart-shaped presentation box. Susan Siminski, RN and Debbie Ziemianski, RN worked to find a beautiful music box from the gift shop that was paid for by Susan. Erin Hafner, RN worked to coordinate the physical care necessary for KW and also worked to support the entire family through this traumatic ordeal.
With the construction in L&D consuming treatment spaces, and L&D being busy, a decision was made to transfer KW and her family to a room on the Mother Baby unit, as she would have a longer length of stay to recover from her surgery. Patients were moved to assure that the area would remain quiet for this special family. Mother Baby does not often care for bereaved mothers and their family. As a team, they rose to the occasion to provide KW and her husband with the most reverent, compassionate care. Elaine Guido, RN phoned her colleague, Jen Liberti, RN, our Bereavement Coordinator to speak with the family on Sunday. Jen provided continuity of care for KW by being her assigned nurse on Monday, her day of discharge. KW was very anxious to be discharged. She was worried about the emptiness of her home. Jen, a bereaved mother herself offered tremendous support to her very frightened patient. During her stay, KW mentioned each nurse by name when she continually thanked me for having such a compassionate staff. She was most appreciative of the nurses who encouraged sleep, quiet and rest, tiptoeing in to check but not disturbing the exhausted couple. Grace Burley, Mary Seemueller were much appreciated.
KW and her husband were very open in expressing their praise for the supportive nursing care they received. Interestingly enough, I met one of Dr. S colleagues at a meeting, 2 weeks later. He had been at a cocktail party the previous weekend and met friends who were cousins of KW. He reported that they could not say enough about the extraordinary care their cousin had received on the Maternal Child units at Mercy Hospital. This physician went out of his way to make certain that the staff knew their work was so appreciated.
Despite a poor obstetrical outcome, a young woman's life was sustained by a wonderful team effort.