Jan 062013

“I don’t know why you are bleeding but with an ultrasound like this the baby has a 95% chance of living for a week.” – OB after a normal ultrasound scan was done on a mother who was 16 weeks pregnant and bleeding.

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 January 6, 2013  OB, pregnancy loss, Ultrasound  Add comments

  16 Responses to ““…The Baby Has A 95% Chance Of Living For A Week.””

  1. This doesn’t even make sense. It sounds like this doctor is just rambling off some statistic he pulled out of thin air so he sounds important and knowledgeable. Why not give some actual data and explain the results of the ultrasound instead of speaking jibberish?

    • Why? Because women who are terrified that their babies are going to die are far, far more likely to do anything that’s asked of them “for the sake of the baby.” Then, when the baby comes out healthy and fine, she can fawn over her savior doctor and he gets to bask in the glory of rescuing the newborn from the death-clutches of its mother’s womb.

  2. Either the ultrasound shows something wrong or it doesn’t. If the doctor has seen enough “ultrasounds like this” to know the baby has “a 95% chance of living for a week” then the doctor should be able to identify what exactly “like this” means.

    If, on the other hand, nothing is wrong enough for the doctor to identify the cause of the bleeding, then the doctor needs to quit making up statistics. It sounds to me as if the doctor didn’t want to admit to being unable to do anything and so followed up with a statistic in order to deflect from the “I don’t know.”

  3. This is my submission.
    Last week I woke up from a nap with blood in my underwear. I called my OB but his office was closed so I headed to my local ER.
    I got there and waited for over an hour to be seen by triage, people kept butting in front of me, ignoring me when I said “I’m next” and giving me dirty looks.
    Finally, I went to the back and told a nurse why I was there, she helped me get into triage to be looked at.
    Aftet that I was brought into high acuity to be looked at by a doctor. I explained what was going on, he did an ultrasound and said those exact words to me.
    I left feeling uneasy and a bit upset.

    • A subchorionic hematoma will cause bleeding like that. It almost always corrects itself, and it’s almost impossible to see on an ultrasound. Have you seen your regular OB since then? I had spotting at 20 weeks accompanied by leaking waters. My ultrasound was NOT normal and I ended up being seen by a perinatologist for the rest of the pregnancy rather than my midwife. If your bleeding has stopped, then it’s possible you will never know why it happened. I hope that’s the case and your baby is just fine.

      • My appointment with him is on the 8th.
        I plan to discuss the bleeding with him, it has stopped though.
        All the doctor looked for in the ultrasound was a heart beat and movement.

    • Glad the bleeding stopped and all that. Just wanted to point out that in the ER, “I’m next” means nothing. It’s not first come first serve, it goes by level of acuity.

      • I know that, but the people who were going ahead of me were sent to low acuity. Like I said, I was sent to high acuity.

      • The “I’m next” was apparently for triage which is normally done in order of arrival (unless its a frank emergency, which usually doesn’t walk in) and the triage nurse decides the order patients are seen by the doctor by the order of emergency

    • I’m praying for you and your baby, Britney.

    • Britney,

      I had blood in my underwear around 9 weeks and again around 14 weeks. They guessed I had a friable (sensitive cervix). I now have a healthy 2 1/2 year old little lady. :)

  4. If those are the exact words use, I’d say the Dr. was trying to be reassuring. That is, the comment reads like he/she meant that although you were bleeding,the ultrasound looked good. No responsible physician would make a prediction *beyond* a week.

    • So, in your opinion what he should have said is, “I don’t see anything wrong. Chances are you will still be pregnant a week from now.” ?
      I read the baby will live for a week and heard this baby has a problem that is incompatitble with life. She will be born and live approximately one week before passing away. Maybe it is because every day there is another horrible statement here and recently we have had “What did you do!” I like your interpretation much better, but this doctor needs to take a communications class. OTOH, Mom (or any patient) should have the balls to look at the doctor straight in the eye and ask just exactly what does that mean rather than meekly slink away or let the doctor leave the room without explaining. If you don’t understand what the doctor said, stop him or her and ask. Go in with the assumption that “I am a bright and intelligent woman. There is no reason that it would take more than another 20 seconds to make sure I understand my condition and I deserve to be treated as an equal.” I do this all the time. There is absolutely no reason why anybody should be afraid to say, “Now once again in English please” or “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” or whatever it takes to point out to Dr. Big Bang Theory that what he just said made no sense if you don’t know the secret code words. No responsible physician would speak in such circular logic and expect to be understood. The fact that an ER doctor’s prime responsiblity is to keep you alive long enough to get you to the right kind of specialist really shouldn’t be common knowledge. It underminds the trust. A patient’s concerns are always going to last beyond one week. And doctors need to stop seeing their jobs as making predictions. A crystal ball is not required. Only the current and honest truth. I see a stong heartbeat and good movement. You should see (insert specialist) within (insert time frame.) Done! No threats about what might happen if you don’t see the speicalist. No gaurantees that if you do see the specialist that everything will be wonderful. Just the facts in common English.

    • that was sort of how i read this too – as in ‘bleeding with no seen SCH at this stage in pregnancy will not be a problem 95% of the time’. said in a funny way, but i don’t think it was said as a threat or meant to be anything other than reasuring.

  5. With something like this I would have demanded he find someone to explain what was wrong. It’s an ER, surely they had an OB on call for all those women who call ambulances as soon as their water breaks

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