Laurence Shields, M.D., Accepts Top Award for Obstetrics Care

Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC) is proud to announce that Maternal/Fetal Medicine Specialist Laurence Shields, M.D., Medical Director of the Marian Perinatal Center and Medical Director of Dignity Health Perinatal Safety, was recently honored with the Norman F. Gant Award for best research in maternal medicine presented at the largest national and international meeting dedicated to high-risk pregnancy and maternity care, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual conference in San Francisco.

The award is given for the paper that is deemed most likely to reduce maternal mortality and/or morbidity.  Dr. Shields’ findings suggest implementation of hospital based comprehensive maternal hemorrhage protocols will reduce utilization of blood products and improve patient safety. The study involved 20,890 deliveries and was performed at 31 Dignity Health hospitals with birthing centers.

Dr. Shields’ research found that implementing a standardized comprehensive maternal hemorrhage protocol significantly reduced blood loss and resulted in a 45 percent reduction in hysterectomies. The study findings suggest such interventions will reduce the need for aggressive surgical treatment and more importantly will reduce infant or maternal morbidity.

“The comprehensive maternal hemorrhage protocol study clearly shows that by following a standardized approach and having a dedicated hemorrhage cart immediately available with all medical supplies and equipment needed for a maternal hemorrhage event, the amount of blood products needed is significantly reduced as well the severity of maternal hemorrhaging,” explains Dr. Shields. “Less blood loss translates to reduced maternal morbidity, reduced hysterectomies and reduced utilization of precious blood bank resources. Unfortunately, in child birth maternal hemorrhage is a common problem and this is clearly a relatively simple and effective way to improve maternal safety.”

In 2009, well before this award, the comprehensive maternal hemorrhage protocol was developed and implemented at MRMC. This innovative patient safety protocol was later adopted by all Dignity Health hospitals with obstetric services. A year later, MRMC’s Maternal & Newborn Center received Dignity Health’s 2010 Values in Action Award, the health care system’s highest distinction for exemplifying the organization’s Core Service Value of Excellence, for the comprehensive maternal hemorrhage protocol.

As the Medical Director of the Marian Perinatal Center, Dr. Shields leads a team of skilled medical professionals who provide specialized care for pregnant women whose circumstances require extra medical attention. In addition to his leadership position as the Medical Director of the Marian Perinatal Center, Dr. Shields is also the Medical Director of Perinatal Safety for Dignity Health and is a graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio.

A copy of the study abstract is available at

About Marian Regional Medical Center

Marian Regional Medical Center, located in Santa Maria, California, is rated among the top 10% in the nation for cardiac care and its cancer program is distinguished as the only comprehensive Community Cancer Center on the Central Coast.  The need to meet the demand for quality, technologically-advanced care for a growing community led Marian to open its doors to a new state-of-the-art, 191-bed facility in the spring of 2012. The new facility houses the largest and most comprehensive perinatology/neonatology service providing the most compassionate, quality care to the littlest of patients. Marian is a Dignity Health member of the Central Coast, which also includes Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, CA and French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, CA. Dignity Health of the Central Coast is an integrated network of top quality hospitals, physicians from the most prestigious medical schools, and comprehensive outpatient services including primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically-advanced laboratories and imaging centers and a full service home health agency; all recognized for quality, safety and service.  Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic Foundation to help meet the growing health care needs of our communities.