Heather Darata

Heather Darata

Story Vault

By Heather Darata

Fifteen months ago Megan Carson was a stay-at-home mom raising her identical twin girls and not exactly sure what she wanted to do once returning to the Johnson County (Mo.) workforce.

But her mother knew best.

“I told my mom about the opening with 9-1-1, and she convinced me to apply,” Carson said. “She figured if I could take care of twins, I’d have no trouble handling this job.”

Carson followed her mother’s advice, made it through the hiring process, and is now an emergency medical dispatcher (EMD). With less than one year behind the scenes of response, she was able to do two things very few have done before her at the Johnson County E-911 Central Dispatch (JoCo E-911).

Carson helped in the delivery of a baby boy and, with fellow EMD Samantha Hill, met the mom, dad, and baby on the very next day.

“We decided to take gifts to the hospital, not knowing if we’d be able to meet them or not,” Carson said. “The parents were amazing. They let us hold him.”

Hospital staff had met the mother the night before when, in the early stages of labor, she was told to go home and return when contractions became more intense and frequent. Not long after 1 a.m., mom went into active labor but it was already too late for another dash to the delivery room.

“Her cousin called and said the mom was crowning, and in the next three minutes the baby was out,” said Carson, who provided Pre-Arrival Instructions (PAIs) while Hill dispatched the ambulance and EMD Michael Roomsburg took control of other calls coming into the center.

They weren’t the only ones in rush mode.

Despite the makeshift facility, mom had plenty of hands on deck, with each seeming to have an assigned role. The cousin making the call relayed instructions to the new grandma, and they did not send dad out to boil water.

“He held her hand” until PAIs demanded the use of his shoelace, Carson said. “He lost one to the baby.”

Three minutes after baby’s appearance, the ambulance arrived for transport.

Baby deliveries aren’t common for JoCo E-911. Operations Manager Leigh Anne Bowling said the last out-of-hospital delivery was close to five years ago, and during that time the center has had its hands full with improvements, from reviving its use of the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ (MPDS®) to becoming its own entity in Johnson County, to building a new facility anticipated for opening in 2014. It also was updated to Next Generation 9-1-1 equipment in step with a population boom brought on by commuters moving to the county’s suburbs, a 45-minute drive from Kansas City.

More residents could even mean more babies for JoCo E-911, and that would be OK by Carson.

“I did not know how much I would love dispatch,” she said. “Everyone does an amazing job, and it’s something different happening all the time.”