Delivering Babies Better
Reported July 17, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) — About 50 babies die each day in the United States during childbirth. Most of them are too small or underdeveloped to live, but some die because of medical mistakes. Now there’s a new high-tech approach to reduce those errors.
It’s a real hospital with doctors and nurses, but the woman giving birth is a mannequin named Ellen. Just a few seconds after she starts to push, her baby’s heart rate plummets. Nurses call for a doctor, and she decides on an emergency delivery.
It was the right decision. The baby comes out with blue fingers and toes, but after oxygen and chest compressions, it’s breathing on its own.
Obstetrician/gynecologist Jeanne-Marie Guise, M.D., is leading a study at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland to determine if the simulations will cut down on mistakes.
“We need to know how to work together really well, so that’s what we’re focused on,” Dr. Guise tells Ivanhoe.
A recent study showed miscommunication was the number one reason for preventable death and disability during childbirth. During this simulation, the nurses failed to inform the resuscitation team.
Labor and delivery nurse Kira Mergen, RN, says, “We kind of got caught up in the moment of what was going on with Ellen and the baby and the heart rate, that we didn’t have any kind of communication with them.”
But they hope practice like this will help them improve communication and save lives, when the moms and babies are real.
The medical team gets practice in deliveries with problems like cardiac arrest, seizures and bleeding disorders — anything that happens in real life — no matter how rare. Over the next couple years, doctors from Portland will take the mannequin to rural hospitals where they have less experience with high-risk births.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Senior Communications Coordinator
Oregon Health & Science University
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road
Portland, OR 97239