THUNDER BAY – On November 15th 2011, on-call Superior North EMS Paramedics received a priority 4 call for an obstetrical emergency transfer to the TBRHCS labour and delivery. The on-call paramedics responded quickly, getting to the hospital within minutes of being dispatched. Upon arrival to the Nipigon District Memorial Hospital, they learned that the young woman who was 36 weeks pregnant was in critical condition. She was in labour with a complication called a prolapsed cord.
This situation is a very serious condition that can cause death to the fetus within minutes. The pressure created between the fetus and the birth canal can pinch off circulation in the cord resulting in eventual death.
Susanne Powell, the nurse practitioner who was caring for the mother, held the pressure off the cord with her hands, while the fetus was in the birth canal.
While Ms. Powell relieved the pressure off the cord, the paramedics monitored the fetal heart beat, to verify that all was going well. This was maintained during the entire transfer to Thunder Bay. Transportation of the patient and the unborn child went well, resulting in a transfer time on one hour and 17 minutes to reach labour and delivery at TBRHSC.
Upon arrival, the patient was quickly assessed and through the prompt interventions of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Center staff, a health baby boy was delivered moments later by emergency c-section.
A prolapsed cord is a very serious clinical complication to the birthing process that can lead to death within minutes if no action is taken. Keeping the mother and child in good health considering the conditions and elapsed time is an impressive accomplishment to say the least. The training and actions of the nursing practitioner, paramedic and medical staff of both hospitals led to a very happy outcome.