August 9, 2013
By Audrey Fraizer
Childbirth is a priority situation, same as a baby in any sort of medical emergency, and often in the same category as cardiac arrest and choking, which explains why Pre-Arrival Instructions (PAIs) for delivering a baby and assisting a baby in respiratory distress have been part of the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) from the start.
But there is one major and potentially frustrating difference.
The EMD isn’t driving the event. Childbirth is patient driven. The patient dictates the speed and progress through the PAIs, not the EMD; no one can accurately gauge what will happen during delivery or the outcome.
That’s why Protocol F: Childbirth–Delivery continues to evolve.
So, how likely is it that you will be the emergency dispatch support person for an unexpected arrival? There are few statistics available, although the chances appear to be minimal. But if it does happen, more than anything else, the caller—the mother or person assisting—requires guidance and reassurance, and for the EMD sounding calm and confident, it says you’re right there with them.