Parkland 8: OB-Gyn ER


Parkland's OB-Gyn ER was the place to go should you be pregnant, in labor, sexually assaulted, having ‘female problems’, think you’re pregnant or somehow ‘lost’ something or other in your va-jay-jay. Next to Psych, I can safely say that OB-Gyn ER was my least favorite of the five designated ER specialties at Parkland.

OB residents were able to communicate with paramedics via a radio that was set up in the ER so we were lucky to have a heads up on what was going to hit the door via ambulance but all too often our OB Gyn patients would arrive by car, pick-up truck or bus.

Over 8500 babies were delivered at Parkland in 1980 – each and every mom was admitted through Parkland’s OB Gyn ER, staffed with a PCA, two ER RN’s and an OB Gyn Resident.

Sadly, many of our full term moms were under 16 years of age, had not received any prenatal care, had no idea how they got pregnant in the first place and refused physician examination. Any way you looked at it – their pregnancies were a result of rape. Who could blame these children for refusing an exam? As there was no way to determine their stage of labor, they would be instructed to ‘walk the halls’ of the ER until their water ‘broke’ or they felt they needed us. I saw more than one pregnant child checking into OB Gyn ER with a baby doll under their arm, and witnessed the look of terror on more than one thirteen-year old girl after giving birth.

Suffice it to say that (through my eyes) there was not a lot of ‘joy’ in Parkland’s OB Gyn ER.

Parkland was the designated hospital in Dallas County for rape exams and (unbelievably today) D&C's were routinely performed without sedation or anesthesia. Brutal.

Recalling Parkland's OB/Gyn ER brings back far too many sad memories of poor women who had to endure abuse, neglect and objectification all because of their gender.
I could go on forever.

The good news, is that things have changed. Hospitals throughout Dallas County are sharing the burden of rape exam through the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program and D&C's without sedation or anesthesia? I would hope not.

On a lighter note –
The radio system was not great in OB Gyn and there was a lot of static when the call came in from Dallas paramedics… “Parkland – we’ve got a full term female, shot with two arrows.” The OB Resident (clearly on the brink of becoming unglued) responded by excitedly saying “Don’t bring her to OB …go to Trauma Hall!” The paramedics responded affirmatively. Trauma and OB Docs, nurses and techs were waiting for the arrival of a very bad situation. When they arrived – there was no evidence of penetrating trauma, arrows or anything else other than a woman in labor. The story goes that the pregnant woman was Native American and her last name was “Shot with Two Arrows”. Crisis averted.

Parkland 9: Medicine

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