UC Irvine Health Affairs

Nurse saves lives with early intervention

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Paul Kennedy
Angie Tran-Bloom nearly lost her life to obstetrical hemorrhaging after delivering healthy identical triplet girls.

Obstetrical hemorrhaging is now caught sooner, thanks to a UC Irvine nurse

Angie Tran-Bloom happily anticipated the birth of her identical triplet daughters. But a rare complication with the placenta caused her to nearly bleed to death. Her life was saved by the quick, expert treatment of UC Irvine Healthcare doctors and nurses, and today she is enjoying motherhood, three times over.

Obstetrical hemorrhaging is a leading cause of childbirth-related maternal death. Excessive bleeding can occur during pregnancy, delivery, or postpartum, and cases can turn critical in a matter of minutes. But obstetrical hemorrhaging can be treated if caught in time—something that has been made much easier thanks to the passion of a UC Irvine Healthcare nurse and the collaborative spirit of teamwork at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Amelia Indig, a clinical registered nurse, initiated the project to ensure her patients—both mothers and babies—received the highest quality of care. At the same time, the hospital joined a statewide collaboration focused on obstetrical hemorrhaging. As those efforts dovetailed, UC Irvine Medical Center developed a set of best practices to detect and treat the problem.

Upon admission, maternity patients are assessed for hemorrhage risk. Their charts are color coded accordingly (from green for low risk to red for high risk), so nurses know at a glance a patient’s status. If a woman comes in with bleeding, she can be admitted automatically to expedite treatment.

If a patient hemorrhages during her hospital stay, nurses can respond quickly, says Charlene Miranda-Wood, clinical nurse educator for perinatal, who helped facilitate the project. A  hemorrhage response cart holds all the supplies needed to treat hemorrhaging, so nurses don’t lose time gathering them from different locations. Rapid-response programs have been put in place with the blood bank and pharmacy. An obstetrical emergency code immediately summons all necessary medical staffers.

The result is optimal patient safety, plus a sense of pride that the nurses “know they are giving the best care they can,” says Lynn Willis, regulatory compliance programs manager, who worked on the project. “And they are proud because it came from one of their own.”

Indig herself calls it her highest professional achievement since passing her state nursing boards. “I really felt I made a difference.”