With maternal mortality rates rising, Virtua Health follows strict protocols to keep mothers and babies safe

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists observed Maternal Health Awareness Day this past Sunday to help people learn about the country’s maternal mortality crisis and what can be done to reduce the risk to women giving birth in this country.

The U.S. is the only developed country in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate, and ACOG says approximately 60% of those maternal deaths are preventable.

Virtua Health prides itself on being at the forefront of the most advanced technology and procedures. Its strict protocols and systems established over the last several years have significantly lowered C-section and episiotomy rates, provided for the rapid treatment of patients with hypertension and infections, and provided risk assessments for a patient’s potential for hemorrhage.

In September, a routine prenatal ultrasound indicated the possibility that 37-year-old Katrina Bailey of Ewing had developed a condition called placenta accreta, a life-threatening condition that can cause a massive hemorrhage and usually requires a hysterectomy to stop the bleeding.

“After my doctor explained placenta accreta to me and that there was a possibility that I had it, I did some research and was very worried for the rest of my pregnancy,” Bailey said.

Following the protocols in place at Virtua, the medical team at Virtua Mount Holly Hospital immediately began preparing for Bailey’s delivery aware that there was a risk for placenta accreta. Virtua OB/GYN physician Dr. Nurain M. Fuseini explained, “We were hoping for the best, but we planned for the worst-case scenario.”

The planning involved gathering an impressive team of specialists to consult on and participate in the delivery. The team included medical staff from obstetrics, nursing, maternal-fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, neonatology, urology, respiratory, anesthesia and the blood bank. All of these professionals were prepared to provide expert help if needed during the high-risk delivery.

After two months of planning, Bailey’s C-section was scheduled on Nov. 19, in the hospital’s main operating room to ensure the safest delivery possible. The C-section revealed that Bailey did have placenta accreta — her placenta had grown through her uterine wall. She lost 3.5 liters of blood and a hysterectomy was performed to stop the hemorrhage. So, even though the worst-case scenario happened, both Bailey and her baby girl had the best outcome — a healthy and happy mother and child.

This patient story is a prime example of the stringent protocols and systems in place to ensure the health and safety of the mothers and babies whose lives are in the care of Virtua’s medical professionals.

As Fuseini concluded: “Virtua’s teams are spectacular. The protocols and systems in place and the planning that occurs provides the safest and most efficient way to address any potentially serious situation.”