gentleMy lab tech looked exasperated and I was growing impatient. She explained that the reason for the delay was the patient sitting in the lab that was afraid of needles and she was unable to draw her blood. The patient was chagrined and very apologetic. She had just relocated from another state and was in the clinic for her initial interview. My eyes quickly darted to her feet that resembled two balloons stuffed into a pair of flip flops. I immediately requested a blood pressure that confirmed my suspicion of pre-eclampsia and she also had protein in her urine. “Forget about the blood” I told the lab tech. She was at risk for having a stroke and needed to be delivered.

I dropped everything, examined the patient and then contacted the high-risk physician at the women’s teaching hospital. I requested an admission but warned her about the patient’s needle phobia. When our fax machine spat out her prenatal record, it was an “OMG” moment. The notes stated that the patient required six security guards to restrain her during a previous delivery in order to give her an IV. I gasped and then groaned.

The patient’s subsequent admission was not a pretty sight. She was combative, refused the IV and anything involving a needle. Meanwhile, her blood pressure was still elevated and bouncing off the wall. And did I mention that she had an abnormal uterus? Five sedatives did not knock her out. Risk management had to get involved. And Lord only knows how the baby was doing.

A phone call was made to her boyfriend who was hundreds of miles away up North. He got in his car, drove all night and reached the hospital the next day.

“If you don’t let them give you an IV, I will leave you . . . AGAIN” he threatened as he stood by her bedside. Within five minutes, the IV was inserted, the c/section was done and the patient delivered a healthy baby.

I wonder if her boyfriend is for hire?

*A Day in the Life© is a copyright series written to illustrate the challenging cases of pregnancy and the importance of receiving quality care. No part of this blog may be copied or reproduced without the express permission of the author, Linda Burke-Galloway, M.D.