Between life and death: Women's experiences of coming close to death, and surviving a severe postpartum haemorrhage and emergency hysterectomy

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Journal Article
Midwifery, 2012, 28 (2), pp. 228 - 235
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Objective: to describe women's experiences of having an emergency hysterectomy following a severe postpartum haemorrhage. Design: a qualitative research approach was used to guide this study. Data were collected through semi-structured, tape recorded face to face, email internet and telephone interviews. Setting: three States in Australia: New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Participants: twenty-one Australian women who experienced a severe post partum followed by an emergency hysterectomy participated in the study. The median age of participants at time of interview was 42 years and the median time since having the hysterectomy was four years. Findings: a process of inductive analysis revealed the major theme, 'between life and death' and three sub-themes, 'being close to death: bleeding and fear', 'having a hysterectomy: devastation and realisation' and 'reliving the trauma: flashbacks and memories'. Conclusion: formulating a plan of care for women identifiably at risk of PPH and ensuring appropriate follow-up counselling is made, is key to help reduce the emotional and psychological symptoms experienced by these women in the aftermath of severe postpartum haemorrhage and hysterectomy. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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