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YRMC protects new mothers from serious, national mortality trend

While hospitals around the country battle increasing maternal deaths, mothers giving birth at Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) are in the hands of a life-saving program our maternity program launched more than a decade ago, long before the current, national crisis.

Around the U.S., post-partum hemorrhages claim the lives of 26.4 women per every 100,000 live births. Sadly, that trend is only growing worse and that number already stands as the highest maternal death rate among developed nations around the world. The rate in Canada, for comparison, is 7.3.

However, mothers at YRMC are thankfully experiencing high-quality care that completely bucks the national trend.

“At YRMC, we have had only one maternal death in more than 20 years. Our rate is not even statistically reportable,” said Dorie Rush, Director (LDRP). “I know there was one death due to post-partum hemorrhages 2009 and then I know of one in late 1990’s. That would be about 68,000 deliveries.”

YRMC’s President and CEO, Dr. Robert Trenschel, praised the hospital’s Labor Deliver Recovery Post-Partum (DLRP) department for its quality care of Yuma’s mothers.

“What an honor for YRMC to serve our community’s mothers at the happiest time of their lives – after welcoming a child into the world. That is a time when mothers especially deserve the safest and most supportive maternity care possible. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of the quality and compassionate care that our maternity care team provides our patients each and every day.”

Yuma’s mothers can thank a program launched in 2009 at YRMC to improve the emergency care of women experiencing post-partum hemorrhages. Rush credits her entire LDRP team over those years, along with progression partnerships with numerous departments throughout YMRC.

After the last maternal death in 2009, LDRP “took a hard look” at how care could be improved when women experience a hemorrhage after giving birth. They identified what equipment and supplies are needed when this particular emergency occurs and created several special carts that can be in the room with a mother or taken to an operating room or the Emergency Department. The carts also include a check list for nurses, including everything from warning signs to vital signs and blood loss.

LDRP created a high-risk hemorrhage team staffed with care providers from that department, along with the blood bank, anesthesiology, obstetrics and interventional radiology. Annual drills were also created to keep processes sharp.

Three years into the program, the statistics showed a 70-percent reduction in the number of mothers going to ICU for post-partum hemorrhages. “Now the numbers are so small,” Rush said, “that I don’t even recall the last time we sent a patient to ICU for hemorrhaging.”
Two years ago the program and its team began focusing on prevention, in addition to hemorrhage care. “We wanted to become more proactive, versus just rapid intervention,” Rush explained.

Today, for example, all expectant mothers are immediately scored in terms of hemorrhage risk from their time of arrival through their stay. Risk guidelines and a risk assessment tool have been developed at YRMC. Their blood type is also screened so that the correct blood type can be available in the OR.

“With our continued vigilance, I know these are incredible trends that will continue at YRMC,” Rush said. “It takes a lot of work to achieve this level of quality care for our mothers, but they are definitely worth absolutely everything we can do for them and their babies. Again, the employees of LDRP and so many other departments here at YRMC are the ones deserving the thanks. They have done incredible work – and I’m so very proud.”

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