NEW BRITAIN - The call came in at about 11:10 a.m. on Tuesday.
A pregnant woman in the south end of the city was having contractions that were two minutes apart.
New Britain Emergency Medical Services arrived on scene within minutes and that’s when paramedic and senior medical officer Eric Cyr made a decision - this was going to be a special delivery.
“It’s great (to be prepared for this situation) - but it makes all of the rest of our adrenaline race,” said EMS senior medical officer and paramedic Stephen Johnson.
Lt. Matthew Kelly of the fire department, who arrived on scene with three others, took a deep breath and went to work.
The two crews set up shop in the living room of the home, Kelly said.
EMS crews carry breathing tubes, defibrillators, medications and other equipment to deal with a myriad of possible medical emergencies, but none of that was needed in this instance.
“You rely on your training and you’re focused,” Kelly said.
Of course, where the baby was delivered wasn’t a surgical ward, Kelly said, but the crews were ready with towels, suction devices for fluids, and obstetric kits for proper medical care of the mother and child throughout the delivery.
The whole delivery took about 15 minutes. The result was the arrival of a healthy baby boy.
Sterile drapes were laid down for the infant and it was important to keep the infant warm, Kelly said. Maintaining body temperature is critical for newborns, Johnson added.
The mom, who wasn’t identified due to medical privacy laws, didn’t have any medical complications during the birth and “thankfully no aggressive” efforts were needed, Johnson said.
Providing emotional support for the mother was as important as giving medical aid, Kelly noted.
A second EMS crew was called in and took mother and infant to the Hospital of Central Connecticut for further care, Johnson said. As of Friday afternoon, the mother and baby were doing well.
“It’s rewarding and gratifying,” Johnson said, adding he was proud and relieved the operation went well. “Eric Cyr was unflappable and had a calm demeanor which really set the tenor for everyone.”
Responding with Cyr was EMT Leigh Richetelle in the first EMS crew, and paramedic Rebecca Hoyt and EMT Richard Moro in the second EMS team.
Helping bring a life into the world “is a really intimate connection with humanity,” Kelly said. He said he and his crewmates, Motor Pump Operator John Aniolowski, firefighter Matthew Currao and firefighter Dymetric Maisonet, were proud and happy when leaving the scene. “I don’t think it gets any better than that,” Kelly said.
During Johnson’s 30 years of EMS service he’s participated in an emergency delivery about 8 to 10 times, he said.
Kelly, 36, said when he was an EMS member at age 18 he helped deliver a baby on a stretcher that was being wheeled into an emergency room, but he had never delivered a baby outside of a hospital.
This was the first home delivery his company had done, he said.
The city’s EMS will have a call about a mother going into labor a few times a month, but most of the time the mom is rushed to the hospital in time to deliver the baby, Johnson said.
In the event a home delivery is needed, EMS crews are trained to handle the situation and firefighters are trained on an emergency medical response level, Kelly said, which means they help mitigate the initial amount of care needed at a scene.
Because of the medical emergency training among fire crews, which has six companies located throughout the city, they will respond with EMS for high acuity, or severe, medical calls, Kelly said. Those being chest pains, overdoses or baby deliveries, for example, in addition to shootings or stabbings.
“(Most EMS members) find the gratification in the care and comfort for patients, and alleviating that pain,” Johnson said. The interaction with patients and providing them with support brings “a lot of satisfaction.”
“It makes you feel special,” Kelly said. “You made a difference in somebody’s life. It’s something not everybody gets to do.”
“They were spectacular,” Kelly said of New Britain EMS. “The city is blessed to have a progressive department like EMS.”
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.