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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Out of state on vacation: C-section and medical advice

Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway's story:
My patient was a 20-something female in her 34th week of pregnancy who complained of decreased fetal movement for 2 days. I sent her to the hospital to be evaluated with specific diagnostic tests. Six days later, I received her report and it was alarming. I assumed she delivered her baby but called the hospital to verify what had occurred. There was no record of her delivery and she had TWO reports written by the same radiologist that were conflicting. The first report suggested that she should have been delivered immediately, the second suggested that she be kept overnight for observation or at minimum, return to the hospital the next day for a repeat study.

I called the patient assuming she delivered at another hospital but did not receive a response and left a voicemail. She returned my call the next day advising me that she was out of state on vacation. I asked her to please go to the nearest hospital immediately because her baby might be in trouble. She followed my advice and was immediately admitted and had an emergency C-section because there was no fluid around the baby.

Had this patient not be sent home inappropriately, she would not have traveled out of state. Had I not been proactive, there might have been a sad ending. The purpose of my book is to prevent sad stories. Many patients unfortunately fall through the cracks and I'm attempting to reduce that.

Advice to pregnant women: Find a pro-active obstetrician for the sake of your unborn children.

Read another birth story. Thanks to Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, who wrote Smart Mother's Guide to a Better Pregnancy.

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