Staying Afloat – the Perioperative Care of a Super Morbidly Obese Pregnant Woman
Increasing numbers of obese surgical patients present significant challenges to perioperative nurses. These challenges are greatly extended when the patient is a super morbidly obese pregnant woman with twins. Such a patient, with a body mass index of 75, and a weight of 230kg, presented to our hospital, requiring an elective caesarean section. Our theatre unit had no facilities in place to cope with a patient of this weight.
The perioperative nurses led the management of care for this patient’s caesarean section. We helped to create a working party in order to frequently discuss the patient’s care, and we collaborated with other relevant agencies. Specific plans of action were developed for both elective and emergency caesareans. Overwhelmed by the lack of resources and information available for a patient of this size, we struggled to keep our heads above water.
The patient eventually had an emergency caesarean section at night; however, our thorough preparation meant a safe and happy outcome for the patient, her babies and the theatre staff. Our theatre team has since contributed substantially to the development of a policy and guidelines for the care of obese patients requiring surgery at this hospital.
McChlery, S. (2008). Staying afloat – the perioperative care of a super morbidly obese pregnant woman. Paper presented at the 13th ACORN (Australian College of Operating Room Nurses) National Conference. Gold Coast, QLD, 22 May, 2008.