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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals Trains More Than 1,000 Labor and Delivery Staff on OB Life Support to Reduce Racial Disparities in Maternal Mortality

Simulation training helps L&D doctors, nurses master skills to address avoidable and potentially fatal complications during childbirth

Jan 21, 2020

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced the successful completion of its obstetrics (OB) life support clinical simulation training to help Labor and Delivery (L&D) providers master skills, reduce the rate of maternal mortality, and address avoidable and potentially fatal complications during childbirth. More than 1,000 health system anesthesiologists, nurses, midwives, and physician assistants from all 11 public hospitals have successfully completed the training, which featured real life scenarios with specially-designed, high tech mannequins that simulated patients having heart attacks during labor. The next round of simulation trainings will begin next month to practice scenarios of patients in labor experiencing massive hemorrhages. Funding for the OB simulations was included as part of the City’s previous $12.8M allocation for a comprehensive plan to support the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYC Health + Hospitals programming aimed at reducing maternal deaths and life-threatening complications from childbirth among women of color.

“We are committed to reducing maternal mortality and are making these significant investments in training our providers on some of the rare and deadly complications of childbirth,” said Chief Medical Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals Machelle Allen, MD. “These simulations allow our provider teams the opportunity to hone and perfect those life-saving skills which thankfully we rarely have to employ. But when that rare event occurs, due to the simulation trainings, the team is well prepared.”

“It is important that we invest time and resources to make certain all providers who play a role in labor and delivery are skilled and up-to-date on training,” said Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Wendy Wilcox, MD, MBA, MPH, FACOG. “The City’s public health system is looking forward to doing even more simulation training and continuing to support our amazingly skilled, committed OB teams.”

The OB life support simulation trainings focused on protocols and procedures to help resuscitate a patient who is having a heart attack during labor, including how to identify deterioration, calling codes and performing CPR before the code team arrives.

Beginning in February 2020, Dr. Wilcox and Dr. Leon Boudourakis, Trauma Attending & Surgical ICU Director at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, will lead the teams across the health system on the next round of training focused on patients experiencing massive hemorrhages. The scenarios will review how to identify a hemorrhage, call for help, use medications and maneuvers to stop hemorrhages, and manage a massive transfusion.

Significant racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related mortality exist. According to the CDC, black patients have a pregnancy-related mortality ratio approximately three times as high as that of their white counterparts.

The simulation trainings are just the latest contribution of the public health system to addressing maternal health. NYC Health + Hospitals is the only health system in New York State identified by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to have every one of its facilities participating in the Safe Motherhood Initiative. The health system also plays an active role on both New York State’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee and New York City’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee.