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Spreading word about AFE


Washington resident Lea Ann Stephens is on a mission spreading the word about a deadly rare condition that took the life of her daughter in 2020.

Gifted Washington athlete Jacie Stephens Cochran’s water broke when she was about to deliver her son, Jaxon.

That’s when amniotic fluid leaked into her blood stream causing cardiovascular collapse.

It’s very rare occurring in one in 40,000 births in Oklahoma and one in 53,800 deliveries in Europe.

“It’s kind of like a bee sting that can cause a person to go into anaphylactic shock,” Lea Ann said.

“It happens very fast causing cardiac arrest. I had been an RN for 33 years and had never heard of it,” she said.

But now, to make something positive out of one of the darkest days of her life, Lea Ann is spreading the word as far and wide as she can about Amniotic Fluid Embolism.

In fact, Amniotic Fluid Embolism Awareness Day is next Wednesday, March 27.

That’s when Lea Ann will be at the State Capitol for Governor Kevin Stitt to sign a proclamation commemorating the day.

Since Jacie died July 2, 2020 Lea Ann has taken on the role of Oklahoma State Liaison for the AFE Foundation.

As the liaison Stephens contacts labor units around the state including delivery units and hospitals telling them about clinical educational opportunities with regard to AFE so they can be prepared in case a situation arises at their location.

“And it’s free,” Lea Ann confirmed.

She said the symptoms of AFE are similar to other complications during childbirth, like uterine rupture, placental abruption and eclampsia which makes diagnosis more difficult.

At the photo opportunity next week, Jacie’s now 3 1/2 year old son Jaxon will be among family members on hand at the capitol.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Lea Ann said of the signing. “It’s only the second governor to do so on AFE Awareness Day.”

Stephens wants to keep the legacy of her daughter alive and hopefully help others to avoid going through such a tragedy.

Also scheduled to be at the 10:30 a.m. signing are Jacie’s parents, sister and husband.

If you would like to contact Jacie’s mother for your hospital to receive information please contact her at OK@afesupport.org.


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