Melissa Parsons, MD
To the Emergency Medicine Doctor Thinking "Another Vag Bleeder"
I see you. I’ve been you. I’ve wondered WHY these women come into the ED when they’re having a miscarriage. I cannot do ANYTHING to fix that. I have thought - this is NOT and emergency. (Yup - I’m a jerk) but let’s be honest, to some of us the pregnant vag bleeders have become a simple algorithm - pelvic exam, beta quant, US, discharge.
But I’ve also been HER. I’ve been that woman miscarrying. I’ve seen the other side. The side that is terrified, clinging to any glimmer of hope she can find. The woman who had a trail of blood across her bedroom and bathroom and worried if it was too much blood. The woman who tried for years for this baby, all to wake up in the middle of the night and have her Hope shredded into nothing by the appearance of blood. The woman diagnosed with an ectopic.
My colleague - you don’t know her. You don’t know if she’s spent years trying to conceive that very child. You don’t know the time, tears and trials that woman has faced to get to your ED. You don’t know the sorrow, fear and turmoil she is currently going through. She is NOT an algorithm. She is NOT a beta quant. She may not seem like an EMERGENCY to you. But to her, to her husband, to her family, this may be EVERYTHING. So I challenge you to stop the eye rolling. Talk to her. Listen to her concerns. Reassure her. And most importantly tell her this is NOT her fault.
I promise you she’s thinking:
Was this because I exercised?
Was it because of what I ate?
Was it because I had sex?
Was it because I took my pill an hour too late?
Was it because ...
She is going to blame herself.
Reassure her that it is NOT her.
That she could NOT have done something different to change the outcome.
Let her take one sigh of relief in her suffering and grief.
You CAN do something to make a difference in this woman's story. So stop the eye-rolling. Stop the frustration.
Find your compassion and your empathy and offer it to this woman who is in need of comfort.