When Alicia came into the Emergency Department when she was only 30 weeks into her pregnancy, she had no ideas that two lives would be saved that night. Here is her story.
The evening began like so many for Tom and Alicia as they settled in to watch a movie. As they relaxed on the couch, Alicia, then 30 weeks pregnant with their first child, began to feel uncomfortable. The discomfort quickly ramped up and soon Alicia was in unbearable pain. They knew she needed medical care — and fast.
They headed straight to Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
For Dr. Arthur Eugenio and his team, that evening also began unremarkably. The Emergency Department (ED) was tending to its typical volume and acuity of patients, and then Alicia arrived. Dr. Eugenio immediately sensed the urgency of the situation. The ED Team jumped into action, ordering multiple tests to quickly diagnose what was wrong.
Unfortunately, Alicia’s condition continued to deteriorate rapidly… and then the seizures began. Unconscious, she had no idea of the efforts that the CMH Emergency doctors and nurses were going to in their actions to save her life, and that of her unborn baby.
Alicia had eclampsia, a rare yet dangerous condition of high blood pressure from pregnancy that can cause seizures, coma, and potentially maternal and infant death. It was a dire situation for both Alicia and her child. The only option was an emergency C-section.
“Things were moving so quickly there was literally no time to waste,” recalls Dr. Eugenio. “It was late at night and Alicia and the baby couldn’t wait another second as we raced down the hallway to the Operating Room (OR). The response from multiple hospital teams made me so proud. So many colleagues responded immediately — our obstetricians, OR nurses, birthing teams, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologist, paediatrics team and of course the Emerg team. There were about 15 of us in that operating room and we did what was needed to save two lives that night.”
Baby Cohen arrived 10 weeks early. High risk deliveries like Cohen’s are typically performed at a specialized obstetrics hospital, yet once again the CMH team stepped up to do what was needed. “Baby Cohen needed CPR and intubation upon delivery. Our care team stabilized him for the ambulance ride to a specialized Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) while we also tended to his mom’s surgery and recovery” explained Dr. Eugenio.
How does the Emergency team adjust from such an urgent, high response case? Dr. Eugenio explains, “One of the features of Emergency is the pace of care we experience daily and we go from high stress, high focus situations and then move on to the next patient in need. The ED nurses and I took a couple minutes to catch our breath, and then went on with our shift.”
Being prepared for anything that comes through our doors is what emergency care is all about. Having the right tools available when they are needed allows our Emergency physicians and nurses to respond to the need, regardless of what it may be.
“I was so fortunate that CMH was close by, and that the Emergency Department staff were there to do all that was needed for me and my baby,” says Alicia. Tom sums up their experience, stating “I’ll be forever grateful to CMH for saving the lives of my wife and my son, Cohen.”
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