For Dan Drzymalski, MD, Shiqian Shen, MD, and May Pian-Smith, MD, physicians in the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, relieving pain is their calling – a calling that recently took them overseas.

Safe delivery

25/Jul/2014

CHANGING CARE IN CHINA: Drzymalski reviews procedures with Chinese physicians.

For Dan Drzymalski, MD, Shiqian Shen, MD, and May Pian-Smith, MD, physicians in the MGH Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, relieving pain is their calling – a calling that recently took them overseas.

With a travel award from the MGH Center for Global Health, the group traveled to China, June 15, on a medical education mission – The No Pain Labor & Delivery Global Health Initiative. The team included anesthesiologists, obstetricians and labor nurses, who aim to tackle caesarean delivery rates in the country and improve the safety and outcomes of mothers and babies during childbirth.

“Chinese women often request to have a caesarean delivery for a variety of reasons, varying from a fear of pain during natural birth to the ancient belief that babies are luckier when born on some days rather than others,” Drzymalski says.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly half of all births in China are delivered by caesarean section – the world’s highest rate. The study also showed that women who have a cesarean section without appropriate medical support are at high risk for related complications or death, and that babies delivered by caesarean section are more likely to have respiratory problems, obesity and other metabolic diseases. “These findings underlay the urgency of controlling caesarean section rates in China,” Drzymalski says.

During their week-long stay, the teams provided education on obstetric and anesthesia techniques to Chinese health providers, as well as patients and families. Chinese medical teams practiced interdisciplinary planning and communication and also participated in clinical simulation drills.

“The Chinese physicians were hungry for knowledge,” says Pian-Smith. “Even after one day of training, we noticed that their communication and teamwork improved, as did the clinical outcomes for simulated patients.”

Drzymalski, Shen and Pian-Smith will share a first-hand account of the trip with MGH colleagues during their department’s case conference on August 14. “We hope this education and training will eventually result in improved outcomes for real patients,” says Drzymalski. “This was a great opportunity for the U.S. and China to work together toward a common goal – the safety of mothers and their babies.”



Read more articles from the 07/25/14 Hotline issue.