Disaster deployments can be challenging for first responders – from the time away from home to long-hours, austere conditions and visibility to heartbreaking devastation. However, sometimes a call comes along that can make all of the difficult moments of a deployment completely worthwhile. For American Medical Response (AMR) Nashville paramedic Ty Curtsinger and Physician’s Transport Service EMT David Janney of Spotsylvania, VA, that call actually came as a bit of a surprise.
After Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida, American Medical Response deployed over 300 first responders in response to the devastating Category 4 storm. Curtsinger and Janney were deployed to the hard-hit area of Lee County.
The pair expected to help respond to 911 calls and interfacility transfer requests from area hospitals to help alleviate strain on the local emergency medical system.
“We were up next in the line of ambulances that were going out for the night,” said Curtsinger. “We were assigned to run 911 calls, but our first call was an interfacility transfer, which I thought was a little weird, but we didn’t mind. We were ready to do whatever was needed.”
When they arrived at the sending hospital, Curtsinger and Janney learned they would be transporting a patient who was in active labor.
“I thought to myself that I had run this kind of call a million times back at home and have never had any deliveries, but as we are moving the patient out to the ambulance, they mentioned that they were trying not to push,” said Curtsinger.
A little way into the transport, the patient’s contractions moved to five minutes apart. However, just two minutes later, the patient stated that they needed to push – and right away.
Just moments later, Curtsinger helped deliver a healthy baby.
“I could hear Ty speaking to me from the back of the ambulance, and it sounded like he was telling me to pull over,” said Janney. “I glanced over at the patient’s spouse and asked if I heard him correctly, and then, all of a sudden, we both heard the baby cry.”
After finding a safe spot to pull the ambulance over, Janney joined Curtsinger in the back of the ambulance to make sure that both mother and baby were well taken care of before they resumed their journey to the receiving hospital.
“We had never been to this community before, so we were relying on our GPS to get us to the hospital, but when we arrived, the doors to the hospital were locked,” said Janney.
After finding an open door and a hospital staff member, Janney and Curtsinger were able to get their patients to the right department.
“When we walked in, all the clinical staff had shocked looks on their faces because the patient was holding the baby.”
The hospital staff immediately checked out both patients and ensured that both mother and child were stable.
“To be honest, this was an unreal experience,” said Curtsinger. “Afterward, I kept saying that this call made the whole deployment worth it.”
Janney, while incredibly happy about the great outcome of the call, was disappointed he wasn’t the one to deliver the baby.
“Back home, I work in volunteer EMS, and I always tell people that after seven years, I still haven’t had the chance to deliver a baby.” Janney said. “But this was good enough for me. I am happy I got to be part of it. It was exhilarating.”