Claire's life-saving actions are recognised

Published: 14 June 2013 at 16:14

Anglia Ruskin student receives award after answering neighbour’s emergency call

The life-saving actions of an Anglia Ruskin University student have been recognised by the British Journal of Midwifery at their annual awards ceremony.

Claire French, who is studying for a BSc (Hons) in Midwifery at Anglia Ruskin’s Chelmsford campus, received the runner-up award in the category of Student Midwife of the Year at the event held at the Le Meridien Piccadilly Hotel in London.

The final-year student, who has been undertaking her placement at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, was at home in Witham, having dinner with her family, when the skills she had been learning were put into action following a knock at the door from a distressed neighbour.

Claire explained:

“My neighbour Olly told me that his wife was bleeding heavily; he had called the ambulance, but didn’t know what else to do.  I rushed to their house knowing that Fiona had delivered by emergency caesarean section six days earlier. 
“Fiona was lying on the floor in a pool of blood, legs elevated and still bleeding.  Realising the severity of the situation, I went to Fiona, calmed her, established delivery information and asked to feel her tummy; the uterus was atonic.  I instinctively knew that I needed to stimulate a contraction to stop the bleeding or the blood loss could be fatal. 
“I kept talking to Fiona as she became increasingly drowsy and also delegated jobs to Fiona’s husband, in-laws and friend, which helped to keep a calm environment.  After 30 minutes at the scene I managed to stop the bleeding, I put Fiona into the recovery position and kept reassuring her whilst waiting for the ambulance. 
“Forty minutes from the initial call the ambulance crew arrived, stabilised Fiona and blue lighted her to hospital.  Fiona had lost over three litres of blood and needed two blood transfusions.
“On reflection I realised my actions had helped save Fiona’s life.  The situation highlighted that there are occasions when a midwife will be the only healthcare professional available to manage a situation, and therefore it is vital that skills are continuously updated and community midwives do not become unskilled in emergency midwifery practice.”

Despite her actions, Claire was still surprised to receive the award from British Journal of Midwifery.  She added:

“I didn’t think the British Journal of Midwifery Awards would recognise a clinical achievement as they are known for rewarding ideas that have changed or influenced practice, so I was thrilled to be successful.”

Karen Bartholomew, Claire’s Midwifery tutor at Anglia Ruskin, said:

“Claire has been an excellent student throughout her midwifery training.  We are very proud of Claire’s award, but more so of the actions for which she gained the award.  She remained calm in an emergency situation and prevented a woman’s condition deteriorating, most probably saving the woman’s life.”