Hospital: Deaths ‘appear to be unpredictable and unpreventable’
WEYMOUTH, Mass. — South Shore Hospital is conducting an internal review and has notified the state after two women died from complications during childbirth at the hospital in one month, a hospital spokeswoman said Sunday.
Our news partners at The Enterprise reported that Colleen A. Celia, 32, a Middleboro mother of four and Easton native, died Wednesday at South Shore Hospital while giving birth to a healthy baby girl named Mya Rose, her father said.
Christie Billodeau Fazio, 30, of Marshfield, who worked as a nurse at South Shore Hospital, died Dec. 14 at the hospital while giving birth to a healthy 8-pound, 10-ounce son named Jonathan Lee Fazio.
The two deaths “appear to be unpredictable and unpreventable,” hospital spokeswoman Sarah Darcy said Sunday.
“We’ve initiated a thorough review of what happened and we’re also in contact with the Department of Public Health, which would be standard procedure for events like these,” Darcy said. “Right now it’s early, but there’s no indication in our early review that anything could have been done to avoid these outcomes.”
Maternal deaths during pregnancy and childbirth are strikingly unusual in the United States. In Massachusetts, on average, five women have died each year during the past 10 years as a result of childbirth-related circumstances, according to statistics from two state agencies.
There were three such deaths in 2011 and three in 2012, according to statistics kept by the state Board of Registration in Medicine.
Nationwide, there are about 650 maternal deaths each year during pregnancy and delivery, according to the federal government’s .
That number has been creeping up year after year, and now is double what it was 25 years ago. Better reporting of maternal deaths and environmental factors have been cited as reason for that upward drift.
The maternity staff at the South Shore Hospital in Weymouth hospital, which sees an average of 3,500 births each year, “has been understandably devastated,” Darcy said of the deaths of the two mothers there.
“Their focus right now is on supporting these two families,” Darcy said.
Celia’s father, Raymond Romero of Easton, said his daughter went to South Shore Hospital on Wednesday for a planned Caesarean-section delivery, and died from complications during the procedure.
The C-section, which was Celia’s first after having delivered her first three children vaginally, was planned because doctors had deemed her latest pregnancy to be high-risk, he said.
Doctors told Celia’s family that she had an amniotic fluid embolism, but the family is awaiting autopsy results for the exact cause of death, Romero said.
An embolish is a blockage in the bloodstream. An amniotic fluid embolism is a rare but serious condition that occurs when amniotic fluid – the fluid that surrounds a baby in the uterus during pregnancy – or fetal material, such as hair, enters the maternal bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic website.
Such an embolism is most likely to occur during childbirth or immediately afterward.
Celia is survived by her husband, Paul, and her three other children, ages 14, 9 and 6.
Celia’s family and friends gathered for a memorial service in New Hope Christian Chapel in Easton on Saturday afternoon.
Celia is being remembered as a vibrant young mother who lived for her children, her father said. She loved music, amateur photography and reading and writing poetry.
“She had a real vibrancy about her, with how she lived her life, trying to find the joy and opportunities and possibilities that life had to offer her and her family,” Romero, 53, said. “She was always looking toward the future, and her children’s future.”
Celia, who attended Easton schools and held an associate’s degree from Massasoit Community College, worked as a patient service coordinator for Vanguard Medical in Braintree. She also had worked as a personal trainer for Boston Sports Club.
Donations in Celia’s memory may be sent to the Colleen A. Romero-Celia Memorial Fund, c/o Bank of Easton, 275 Washington St., Easton, MA 02356.
It was unclear Sunday whether Fazio, the Marshfield woman who died Dec. 14, had undergone a Caesarean or vaginal birth.
Her cousin, Jennifer Billodeau, said last month that Fazio, 30, was able to briefly hold her newborn son before the hospital staff discovered she was bleeding after giving birth and then tried everything to save her.
A GoFundMe.com drive set up by Billodeau has raised more than $61,000 for the Fazio family. Donations can be made online at GoFundMe.com/Fazio-Family-Fund.
South Shore Hospital has been “very forthcoming and open” with his family about his daughter’s death, Romero said.
“It’s a tragic event for everyone involved,” he said. “We obviously want all of the information and the facts as to what’s occurred.”