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Thursday, 09 June 2011 12:13

Code pink will signal trouble with expectant women

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Staff at the Cypress Regional Hospital will now be under less stress in the event of an emergency while a woman in labour.


On May 1, the hospital instituted code pink at the hospital, which co-ordinates teams to come to the aid of a patient who is having an obstetrical emergency.

According to Anita Sagadahl, the program manager of women’s and children’s health services, there haven’t been issues with obstetrical emergencies before, but code pink will help prevent any in the future.

“While we’ve managed well (with obstetrical emergencies) and the outcome was perfectly fine, when we did debriefing many times nurses brought up if they wouldn’t have had to (contact all the people needed to deal with the emergency) it would have saved more time. It just fit in nicely together,” she said.

In order for an emergency to be declared during labour, there must be clinical instability in the patient or there must be issues like cord prolapse (the umbilical cord precedes the fetus from exiting the uterus), eclampsia (seizures) or a ruptured uterus. Shoulder dystocia or hemorrhaging would also be declared an emergency.

Obstetrical emergencies are rare at the Cypress Regional Hospital. Sagadahl said the hospital only had two last year, but they are very stressful for the staff.

Prior to code pink being implemented, the staff nurse involved in the emergency would be responsible for calling the obstetrician, the lab, operating room staff, staff members who respond to cardiac arrests and any other health care workers who should be present. The nurse would also be responsible for managing the emergency.

Now, that nurse will call the registration staff, which will call out code pink three times and have all staff in the hospital who are supposed to respond to a code pink call race to where the emergency is taking place. That will likely either be in emergency or the women’s and children’s ward.

Should an emergency occur at night or during the weekend, the registration staff will be responsible for contacting everyone who is on-call and responsible for responding to a code pink.

Although code pink may not be used very often and patients may not notice the change, Sagadahl believes it will benefit women who have emergencies while giving birth.

“In any patient’s stay in the hospital, if you see a team working on your behalf it just gives you confidence,” she said. “It instills confidence in the group and how they manage.

“While they may not identify that there is anything special going on, they will get a sense that everyone is there and they are there for a purpose to manage the emergency and ensure a positive outcome.”

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