Uterine Atony, an Extremely Dangerous Complication Effectively Managed Thanks to the NASG

 

Oecusse Referral Hospital’s personnel on-call that night: Dr. Humberto and Francisca the midwife, unfolding the NASG that was used for stabilizing Joana after she experienced hemorrhage. Photo Credit: Tarcisio Amaral
Oecusse Referral Hospital’s personnel on-call that night: Dr. Humberto and Francisca the midwife, unfolding the NASG that was used for stabilizing Joana after she experienced hemorrhage. Photo Credit: Tarcisio Amaral

Joana is the kind of woman who strictly follows the advice of  health personnel, taking recommended measures to prevent health conditions and complications. Unfortunately, Joana could not prevent uterine atony, which caused her to hemorrhage shortly after giving birth on November 23  at Oecusse Referral Hospital in timor Leste.

Joana is a healthy 19-year old woman with two children– her newborn and his older brother. On that day of November, she had been waiting in the maternity ward for the several hours. When her contractions grew stronger, she was moved to the labor ward and delivered her second son, assisted by Francisca, a hospital midwife. Suddenly Joana started to bleed heavily. The midwife quickly diagnosed uterine atony and while she commenced uterine massage to help stop the bleeding, her colleague called Dr. Humberto, the hospital’s obstetrician. “Uterine atony is the most common cause of post-partum hemorrhage, and also the most serious one.” Explains Dr. Humberto. Within a short period of time, a woman with this condition can bleed to death. When I arrived, Joana had already lost a lot of blood, despite intensive uterine massage by the midwife. She was becoming unconscious. Only the NASG could reverse this situation.”

Joana and her son, both healthy, saved by a doctor and a midwife who applied NASG while she was unconscious after having lost more than one liter of blood. Photo Credit: Tarcisio Amaral
Joana and her son, both healthy, saved by a doctor and a midwife who applied NASG while she was unconscious after having lost more than one liter of blood. Photo Credit: Tarcisio Amaral

NASG stads for  “Non-Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garment”, a low-technology device that can slow excessive bleeding and stabilize a mother with postpartum hemorrhage until she reaches a health facility or, if she is already at the hospital, until appropriate treatment is available. It provides compression on the lower part of the body so that blood can circulate in the vital organs.

Dr. Humberto, assisted by Francisca, applied the NASG on Joana. A few minutes later, the bleeding stopped and Joana’s vital signs returned to acceptable norms. She was alive and stabilized with the NASG and IV drops on both arms. Dr. Humberto provided the required treatment. Joana was discharged from the hospital a couple of days later in very good condition.

Today, Joana is very thankful to the hospital personnel, especially Dr. Humberto and Francisca, who did not hesitate to use the NASG: “All I remember right after my son was born was an emergency situation around me, then my vision became blurred and I thought I was dying. I woke up inside the NASG and felt secure. I felt I was in good hands and close to my baby”.

Learn more about Timor-Leste Health Improvement Project.

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