• 59°

KDMC is a safer place for new mothers

The stats are alarming. According to a USA Today story, fewer than half of maternity patients in America’s hospitals were promptly treated for bleeding and blood pressure fluctuations that put them at risk for stroke or even death.

Doctors and nurses too often relied on observation and judgment calls, instead of hard data, when making treatment decisions, according to the investigation.

It makes the U.S. the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth, with more than 50,000 mothers suffering severe injuries during or after childbirth and about 700 mothers dying each year.

In Brookhaven, that’s not the story. Thanks to a statewide effort to shift to evidence-based procedures, the hospital has taken the necessary steps to protect the health of mothers.

Angie Williamson, LDRP director at King’s Daughters Medical Center, said her staff has been collecting, measuring, weighing and calculating proper treatment start times for years.

The program seeks to cut down on preventable conditions that can injure or kill mothers who have recently delivered by measuring blood loss, the timely administration of blood pressure medicine and other steps.

KDMC follows a series of steps to keep reliable data on its maternity patients. One of the most important is a maternal hemorrhage protocol that tracks a mother’s blood loss by using a precision scale to weigh blood-soaked pads, towels and sponges, Williamson said.

“Historically, people would estimate blood loss visually, but now we have instituted quantitative blood loss — we weigh every drop,” she said. “There is no longer a guess. It is a true milliliter count of actual blood loss.”

The efforts of Mississippi and hospitals like KDMC have placed the state near the middle of pack for maternal deaths. It’s significant when compared to other health factors that normally place the state near the bottom of the pile.

Hopefully, more states and more hospitals will take the necessary steps to protect maternal patients. Our nation’s mothers shouldn’t die because of out-of-date medical practices.