Background The appropriate and timely administration of Anti-D immunoglobulin to Rhesus (D) negative women who have delivered Rhesus (D) positive babies is a vital part of obstetric care. Anti-D has an especially high profile in Ireland because of the tragic inadvertent transmission of Hepatitis C to Irish women in past decades.
Audit We have reviewed our policy and procedures pertaining to the administration of Anti-D for sensitising events during pregnancy and postnatally, in the Mid-Western Health Board in 1999/2000. As a result, major changes were made in the storage, issue, recording and administration of Anti-D. New procedures in the transfusion laboratory and in the maternity hospital have been accepted by scientists and midwives and supported by haematology and obstetric medical staff. The pharmacy and haematology laboratory no longer have a role in this programme.
Implementation of multi-disciplinary change management As a result of these changes, the storage, issuing and tracking of Anti-D has become the responsibility of the hospital blood bank. Measurement of foeto-maternal haemorrhage (FMH) is now the responsibility of bio medical scientists in blood bank, utilising both flow cytometry (increasingly recognised as the gold standard method) and the Kleihauer method (Kleihauer-Betke). The programme has moved from a doctor-administered IV Anti-D Ig, to a midwife-administered IM preparation. Prescription remains the responsibility of the doctor. These changes are facilitated by the protocol guided issue of the appropriate dose of Anti-D Ig by bio medical scientists to midwives. The issue of the Anti-D Ig occurs simultaneously with issue of results of mother and baby's serology testing and estimation of volume of FMH. These major changes have been guided by audit and needs assessment and require close liaison between medical, nursing and laboratory scientific staff in haematology, transfusion and obstetrics.
Critical incident audit-case report Before new procedures became official policy, a critical incident audit allowed us to pilot our protocol and to revise it using draft new procedures. In this critical incident we describe successful management of a patient with a large foeto-maternal haemorrhage. This incident supported the need for the procedural enhancements already underway. This critical incident re-emphasised the need for the planned systems improvements to be introduced quickly.