September 8, 2015
by Audrey Fraizer
It’s too bad mom wasn’t a backseat driver, literally.
Perhaps if she had been, her daughter, born Feb. 7, 2015, might have experienced a roomier entry into the world compared to the cramped quarters between the front seat and glove box.
“This was not a textbook delivery,” said EMD Erin Jensen, North Central EMS/Coordinated Medical Emergency Direction (CMED), Hartford, Conn.
But it was one for the books.
With a winter warning in effect until 1 a.m., dad was driving his wife to the hospital shortly before 2 p.m. in anticipation of the couple’s second child.
He didn’t have much choice.
Mom was in active labor, and, instead of making a beeline to the hospital, dad had to cut the drive short, exit the highway, and head toward an alternate delivery place on a quieter road.
“He was still driving when he called,” Jensen said. “He was looking for a street sign so he could give a location.”
With the car pulled over to the curb, it was time to get down to the delivery business. Dad positioned his wife as comfortably as possible in the passenger seat of their vehicle and commenced following Jensen’s recitation of the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) PAIs for childbirth.
“Dad was great,” Jensen said. “He sounded nervous, but he did really well at listening and keeping it together.”
In moments, a baby girl had made her entrance, but she was not making a sound, and her skin was a faint shade of blue. Jensen gave instructions to rub the baby’s back, according to the protocol, and that brought out a cry.
“That’s all the assurance I needed,” she said. “The baby was going to be fine.”
The ambulance arrived on scene at about the time Jensen was giving instructions to tie the umbilical cord. She was relieved; the outcome was positive.
North Central EMS/CMED Assistant Operations Manager Brian Baldwin credited Jensen for her calming influence and coaching.
“She did a good job getting the caller to pull over and an excellent job coaching the caller through the birth prior to the arrival of EMS,” Baldwin said.
The call will always rank as a commemorative benchmark to Jensen’s part-time job in the dispatch center, as long as she doesn’t get full credit.
“This was really a team effort—from dispatch, EMS, and the Bloomfield Police Department (which had transferred the call from its center),” Jensen said. “Dad was a champ. I was just doing my job the same as anyone else here would have done. We all pitched in for the happy outcome.”
There is one slight downside to the call, Jensen admits. She is also expecting a baby and would prefer the delivery takes place in a more conventional environment. She’s hoping to make it to the hospital on time.
“My heart went out to them,” she said.
North Central EMS/CMED is a nonprofit EMS communication center coordinating patient and resource distribution from the scene of a mass casualty incident to the emergency department (ED) of an acute care hospital. Administered by the North Central Connecticut EMS Council, it is the primary means of communication between prehospital providers in the field and the ED physician for medical direction.
North Central EMS/CMED provides EMD services for the towns of Bloomfield, Canton, East Granby, Granby, Suffield, Wethersfield, and Windsor Locks.
The center processes more than 130,000 emergency medical incidents annually. All North Central EMS/CMED employees are certified EMDs.