Thank you for “A baby’s life, and a new doctor’s lesson,” [March 25]. I would only add the missing piece of this puzzle: Who was connected to the feet in the stirrups? Because you can be sure she saw the obstetrician stalk in, she heard the muttering, she heard and saw the exchange as they were preparing to deliver the placenta. She heard the “Oh my God!”
I was that woman 20 years ago, only I was almost 40 and had a 5-year-old child and five miscarriages in my reproductive history.
What was different for us was that the teaching hospital where I received my care took the role of mentoring as a privilege, not an irritation or a burden.
And yes, moments after my daughter shot out of me in a precipitous delivery and was whisked to the neonatal intensive care unit, I hemorrhaged, and one of the residents leaped on the bed and began pounding on my abdomen, while his colleague frantically worked to manually deliver the placenta. They shouted orders to the nurses, paged the attending, ordered blood, hooked me up to monitor my vitals, and also assigned a nurse to calm my husband.
Thankfully, within 10 minutes I was more or less stable, and the residents and attending OB explained what had happened, and how they would monitor me to ensure I was okay. The nurses continued to check on me frequently. The neonatologist came to let us know how our daughter was doing. And the attending and both residents stopped by over the next two days, all of which helped us regain our equilibrium and should be the standard of care.
I know how fortunate we were. That baby girl is now a college junior!
I hope all medical schools remember to teach, and teach again and again, that there is always a person on the other end of the stirrups, the stethoscope, the needle, and that the verbal and nonverbal communication among medical staff is heard and understood by that person.
Franca Posner, Silver Spring