It is said that art imitates life and the episode â€œPersonal Jesusâ€ in Season 14 of Greyâ€™s Anatomy revealed some hard-core facts: patients die unnecessarily because of missed diagnosis.
Three patients entered the fictitious Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital and none of them left alive, including a woman who had just given birth to a healthy baby at 37 weeks. She was in labor at 37 weeks with a â€œnormalâ€ blood pressure but died of something called the â€œHELLPâ€ Syndrome that is associated with pre-eclampsia.
â€œHELLPâ€ is an acronym for hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelets which help the blood clot thereby avoiding hemorrhage.
Could the tragedy of the fictionalized patient in Greyâ€™s Anatomy been avoided? Perhaps, if the physicians had a heightened level of suspicion based on her risk factor of first pregnancy. First-time pregnant moms are at a greater risk of developing preelampsia so a brief discussion should have been made in the medical records along with the â€œlow blood pressure.â€
Tragically, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported over 5,000 maternal deaths of women who delivered within a year of giving birth from 2011 to 2013.Â This represent an increase in maternal mortality from 7 percent to 15 percent. Despite these dismal statistics, there are things that clinicians can do to fight this battle which include being more proactive by looking for this disease even before a patient is in a state of crisis.Â We, as clinicians can do better and we MUST do better. Too many women are dying.
Follow Dr. Linda onÂ FacebookÂ | Order your copy ofÂ The Smart Motherâ€™s Guide to a Better Pregnancy: How to Minimize Risks, Avoid Complications, and Have a Healthy BabyÂ | Dr. Linda is a board certified Ob/Gyn and an expert in the area of pre-eclampsia and high-risk pregnancies.Â Contact Dr. LindaÂ about an appearance at your next event or media placement opportunities.
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