Maria Gabriel-Gelin, 35, was admitted to a hospital to deliver her fourth baby by Cesarean section. During labor and delivery, the treating obstetrician noted that she had an atonic uterus and a hole in her small bowel, which needed to be surgically repaired. She also suffered from anemia.
She lost a substantial amount of blood during the delivery and was later transferred to the post-anesthesia unit of the hospital under the care of obstetrician Dr. Shobha Sikka.
That evening, nurses paged Dr. Sikka and reported that the patient was experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding. Dr. Sikka noted that despite medication, Gabriel-Gelin’s uterus was again atonic. An atonic uterus most often occurs because of over-distention or as the result of multiple pregnancies. An atonic uterus is a major cause of postpartum hemorrhaging. The word “atonic” means loss of muscular tone or strength to contract.