Alfred Abuhamad, MD, leads national group set on improving pregnancy mortality rates

Story Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2014 15:17:00 EDT

Alfred Abuhamad, MD, Chair and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, has been tapped to lead the newly formed Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care. The council, which is made up of the nation’s leading women’s health organizations, aims to improve patient safety in women’s health care by sharing best practices that can save lives.

“The Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care is a collaborative effort with the goal of continually improving patient safety in women’s health care through a multidisciplinary approach that drives culture change,” says Dr. Abuhamad, the Mason C. Andrews Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Council Chair.

Over the past century, maternal mortality in the United States has decreased substantially primarily due to the ability of sterile techniques, antibiotics and the ability to do Caesarean sections, Dr. Abuhamad says. However, over the past several years, physicians started to see an uptick in maternal deaths during pregnancy or childbirth.

“Currently, several states report on maternal mortality, Dr. Abuhamad says, “the sad aspect of this is that data have shown that about half of the mortality associated with childbirth can be prevented.”

The council has launched a website, Safe Health Care for Every Woman, which aims to provide national standardized protocols that would lead to a reduction in morbidity and mortality in pregnant women.

"We really need to make sure women do not approach pregnancy or delivery with a fear that their lives can be jeopardized,” Dr. Abuhamad says. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that labor and delivery is a safe event.”

Over the course of the next three years, the Council will look into sharing safety bundles that tackle various morbidity and mortality issues for pregnant women, says Dr. Abuhamad. The first — which will come out within the next few months — will look into postpartum hemorrhage and ways to identify it early, provide a checklist for standard management and care and ensuring debriefs are taking place afterward. The Council will then address the management of severe hypertensive crisis and will look into the prevention of deep vein thrombosis, he says.

“The council has brought together nurses, midwives, physicians, patient safety specialists and industry partners to realize our vision of safe healthcare for every woman,” Dr. Abuhamad says. “Together, we improve care.”

Participating organizations include: American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, American Urogynecologic Society, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, Society of Gynecologic Oncology, Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology, American College of Nurse Midwives, American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Pulse of New York, Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility, American Hospital Association, American Association of Blood Banks, American Association of Birth Centers, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, The Joint Commission, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more.






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