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911 EMS Activations by Pregnant Patients in Maryland (USA) during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2021

Megan E. Hadley*
Affiliation:
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
Arthur J. Vaught
Affiliation:
Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
Asa M. Margolis
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
Timothy P. Chizmar
Affiliation:
Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
Teferra Alemayehu
Affiliation:
Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
Torre Halscott
Affiliation:
Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
J. Lee Jenkins
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
Matthew J. Levy
Affiliation:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MarylandUSA Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, Baltimore, MarylandUSA
*
Correspondence: Megan E. Hadley Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 511 S Ann St, Baltimore, Maryland, 21231USA E-mail: Mhadley8@jhmi.edu

Abstract

Introduction:

In the early phase of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, United States Emergency Medical Services (EMS) experienced a decrease in calls, and at the same time, an increase in out-of-hospital deaths. This finding led to a concern for the implications of potential delays in care for the obstetric population.

Hypothesis/Problem:

This study examines the impact of the pandemic on prehospital care amongst pregnant women.

Methods:

A retrospective observational study was conducted comparing obstetric-related EMS activations in Maryland (USA) during the pandemic (March 10-July 20, 2020) to a pre-pandemic period (March 10-July 20, 2019). Comparative analysis was used to analyze the difference in frequency and acuity of calls between the two periods.

Results:

There were fewer obstetric-related EMS encounters during the pandemic compared to the year prior (daily average during the pandemic 12.5 [SD = 3.8] versus 14.6 [SD = 4.1] pre-pandemic; P <.001), although the percent of total female encounters remained unchanged (1.6% in 2020 versus 1.5% in 2019; P = .091). Key indicators of maternal status were not significantly different between the two periods. African-American women represented a disproportionately high percentage of obstetric-related activations (36.2% in 2019 and 34.8% in 2020).

Conclusions:

In this state-wide analysis of EMS calls in Maryland early in the pandemic, no significant differences existed in the utilization of EMS by pregnant women. Prehospital EMS activations amongst pregnant women in Maryland only decreased slightly without an increase in acuity. Of note, over-representation by African-American women compared to population statistics raises concern for broader systemic differences in access to obstetric care.

Type
Original Research
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine

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