Cassie came to the Sacramento Life Center for pregnancy testing and help getting health insurance. She had suffered a miscarriage in the last year and desperately wanted to be pregnant again. She was ecstatic when test was positive.
Cassie returned for an ultrasound, both excited and nervous to see her baby on the screen. Unfortunately, the ultrasound showed something dangerously wrong with her pregnancy. The sonographer found what appeared to be an ectopic pregnancy in Cassie’s ovary.
These kinds of pregnancies can be life threatening for a woman and cannot be continued without extreme risk. It was noted that Cassie had been bleeding around the pregnancy, an indication that both Cassie’s pregnancy and her health were in jeopardy. The nurse joined the sonographer to advise Cassie as to suspected complications. The medical director was consulted and agreed with the findings. Cassie was referred immediately to Mercy General Hospital. She required surgery and a blood transfusion.
Ectopic pregnancy is the most common cause of pregnancy related death in the first trimester and accounts for approximately 10% of maternal deaths during pregnancy. Patients receiving free services at the Sacramento Life Center often have road blocks to getting good, early prenatal care. They may be ambivalent about continuing the pregnancy and delay medical evaluation. They may lack health insurance. They may fear exposure of immigration status. They may lack basic knowledge of how to find a health care provider. Being a free, confidential provider for these early steps in pregnancy may not seem like a “big deal” to a lot of people, but for Cassie, it was truly life saving.