It could be that she was having some issues; though I'm not sure that the first line of action should have been mag sulfate. Like I said, though, Idon't work in a hospital, and maybe someof the hospital based nurses will chime in.
Based on seeing spots, swelling, brisk reflexes and her blood pressure being that elevated when the rest of the time it had been normal--well, she might have been going into preeclampsia.
I tell you what, I do work in the hospital as well, but on the medical floor. I deal with alot of cardiac patients. About once a week I have a patient who develops chest pain, and I follow our protocol in dealing with it - starting oxygen, checking what the heart monitor is reading, getting an EKG and vital signs, giving nitro if ordered, giving mylanta, etc. I had a patient last week who had chest pain and really scared me. Everything was normal--EKG was just a little changed, but otherwise everything was great. But her skin color, her breathing, her posture in bed, the change in her affect, I just knew something was wrong. I had no real numbers, just instinct and intuition, and I have learned to trust it. I could have been wrong (I've been wrong before!), but I just had a really bad feeling about her, and I pestered the doc and was hyper-watchful of her all night.
The night before last I had a patient who was having chest pain. Almost exact same situation-no change in vitals or EKG, tele normal. I treated her the exact same way as far as the protocol went, but I was sure it was heartburn. The patient was sure she was having a heart attack, but her symptoms subsided once I gave her mylanta. Even if I didn't have the order for mylanta, I just really felt strongly that this wasn't heart related. Her color, her posture, and her affect just told me it wasn't. Just to be sure, I treated her as if it was.
So maybe the nurse just had a really bad feeling about what was going on with your sister. Or maybe not--maybe she overreacted, maybe she was new, maybe she was stretched thin as far as staffing goes and decided that it was better to overtreat than undertreat since she couldn't give everything the attention the situation deserved--I don't know. It's a tough call as a nurse.
I will tell you that I would be shocked if the doc would come in and evaluate. I've only worked in this hospital, but many of our docs rely on the nurses to make an evaluation; short of the patient coding, a physician doesn't necessarily evaluate a patient unless it is time for rounds. So if the doc wasn't in the hospital, I can almost guarantee that he/she would nto have come in to evaluate your sister.
I really hope that you can come to terms with this. It really sounds to me like you did a great job in a tough situation. If that was your first birth you attended (except for you own), that was a tough one. Depending upon how your sister's relationship is with her doctor, maybe you can go to the postpartum check. Ask her to ask the doc why they chose to do mag sulfate at that time, what his thought process was. Try not to make the doc nervous about it, but rather in a "help us understand what happened" sort of way. You might get more information that way, and it can help you process how you might react the next time you attend a birth where blood pressure becomes an issue.
Good luck! Hang in there!
I also really hope that someone else chimes in here. My info on OB floors is limited...it'd be cool to hear some current OB floor nurses weigh in here, give more current (and possibly correct) information.