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Recurrent Obstetric Management Mistakes Identified by Simulation

Maslovitz, Sharon MD1; Barkai, Gad MD2; Lessing, Joseph B. MD1; Ziv, Amitai MD2; Many, Ariel MD1

doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000265208.16659.c9
Original Research

OBJECTIVE: To develop a simulation-based curricular unit for labor and delivery teams involved in obstetric emergencies to detect and address common mistakes.

METHODS: A simulation-based curricular unit for hands-on training of four obstetric emergency scenarios was developed using high-tech mannequins and low-tech simulators. The scenarios were eclamptic seizure, postpartum hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia, and breech extraction. The obstetric teams consisted of at least one resident and two midwives. Checklists of actions expected from the teams were handed out to the course's tutors who observed the “event.” All sessions were videotaped and then reviewed and analyzed by the trainees themselves, who were guided by two experienced tutors. We identified the most commonly occurring mistakes by summing up checklists and by watching the recorded sessions.

RESULTS: Between February 2004 and April 2006, 60 residents in obstetrics and gynecology and 88 midwives underwent the simulation-based course. Forty-two labor and delivery teams completed all four sessions. The most common management errors were delay in transporting the bleeding patient to the operating room (82%), unfamiliarity with prostaglandin administration to reverse uterine atony (82%), poor cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques (80%), inadequate documentation of shoulder dystocia (80%), delayed administration of blood products to reverse consumption coagulopathy (66%), and inappropriate avoidance of episiotomy in shoulder dystocia and breech extraction (32%). Eighteen trainees were invited for repeated sessions at least 6 months after the first training day, and their scores were significantly higher in the latter sessions (79.4±4.3 versus 70±5.3 for the second and first simulated eclampsia sessions).

CONCLUSION: A curricular unit based on simulation of obstetric emergencies can identify pitfalls of management in labor and delivery rooms that need to be addressed.


Simulation-based, hands-on training can identify commonly recurring errors in the management of obstetric emergencies.

From 1Lis Maternity Hospital, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel; and 2M.S.R., the Israeli Center for Medical Simulation, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, both affiliated with the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Corresponding author: Sharon Maslovitz, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lis Maternity Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 1001 Bay Street, Unit 1104, Toronto, Ontario, PC-M5S-3A6, Canada; e-mail:

© 2007 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists