October 5, 2011
It’s a sad commentary when human beings have to be reminded how to act like human beings, especially when they’re in the helping profession. Loni Hildebrandt was a 29 year old certified nursing assistant who was pregnant with her first baby. Make that two babies because she was pregnant with twins. Hildebrandt considered her pregnancy miraculous because she had infertility and was a diabetic since the age of one. Together, she and her boyfriend saved their money and obtained fertility treatments. Her mother, Jo Novtny, a nurse of 30 years was ecstatic when she saw the ultrasound of her two grandbabies but her happiness was short-lived. One day after the procedure, Hildebrandt began to bleed so they went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital has an excellent maternal fetal medicine (aka high-risk obstetrics) department but Hildebrandt never made it there. She got as far as the hospital’s emergency room where she was attended to by one of its physicians. Despite repeated requests to have her blood sugar checked, Hidebrandt had to wait six hours before it was done. An ultrasound at the hospital revealed a blood clot that was causing the contractions and the ER doctor told her that he could probably save one by “suctioning the clot so the labor would stop.” According to The Herald Tribune, the physician suctioned the clot and one of the twins as well. Hildebrandt allegedly began bleeding more, passing bright red blood clots. They called for help but no one came. According to the newspaper report, a nurse put the afterbirth in a bedpan and left it near Hildebrandt’s head where she was lying. Her mother moved it and placed it under her daughter’s bed. Novtny ultimately delivered the second twin because no one else was around. The ER doctor returned to the room saw the fetus in Novotny’s hand took it from her and put it in a bucket.
Novtny states her daughter did not receive proper treatment until her personal physician arrived and remained in a pool of blood for over 10 hours. Hildebrandt’s iron count was dangerously low because of the bleeding. Her mother’s request to speak with the hospital administrator was met with no response so she wrote a letter to the governor instead. An investigation was done, gross negligence was found, the ER doctor resigned and Hildenbrandt’s nurse was cited for “lack of critical thinking skills.” The hospital will now have unannounced federal inspections in order to keep their Medicare payments. The hospital administrator issued a public apology.
Perhaps one day hospitals will do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Hopefully, Hildebrandt will become pregnant again and have a better outcome.
October 11, 2010
Is your job hazardous to your pregnancy? It might be if you work as a cashier. One more thing has now been added to a pregnant woman’s list of concerns. Recent articles have reported that pregnant women who work as cashiers have an increased risk of exposure to a hazardous chemical called bisphenol A or BPA.
BPA is a chemical that is found in plastic products including drink containers, plastic utensils, the lining of canned foods and in cash register receipts. It has caused prostate and breast tumors in animals and has been associated with heart disease and diabetes in humans. According to medical reports, more than 90 percent of pregnant women had BPA detected in their urine and 87 percent was found in the urine of their babies at birth. High levels of BPA in pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of obese children and aggressive behavior in girls. A few years ago, concerned mothers successfully advocated for BPA-free baby bottles out of concern for their babies. However, the exposure that the unborn baby receives during pregnancy appears to pose an even greater threat.
Who is at risk for BPA exposure? Pregnant women who work as cashiers and handle cash register receipts as well as pregnant women who eat canned foods on a daily basis. Pregnant women, who are exposed to cigarette smoke, handle vinyl flooring and plastic containers are also at risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is mandated to protect workers from a hazardous work environment by setting standards that employers must follow. Every employer is required to have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that contains important information on the chemical properties and health effects of materials used in the work place. It would not be unreasonable to ask your employer for a copy.
Ideally, BPA should be banned from consumer products but until that happens here are some helpful tips for pregnant working moms:
- Ask permission from your supervisor or Human Resource department to wear gloves if you are a cashier, if they give you a difficult time; show them this link and then mention the regulatory agencies such as OSHA and the EPA
- Eliminate or reduce eating canned foods
- Microwave food in glass only
- Lobby your local politicians to have BPA removed from cash register receipts and cans
By being proactive, you are improving your chances of having a healthy baby. Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.