Miracle baby

By admin
28 July 2014

The reflex and instinct of rescuers saved the life of an unborn baby - who's mother had already died.

David Dennison, Operations Manager at EMS Limpopo,  took a different route to work on an August morning in 2012. If he hadn't, a tow truck driver  wouldn't have stopped him along the way and told him about a collision between a car and a train -- and he might not have played a major role in saving the life of an unborn baby girl.

David hurried to the scene, calling Advanced Life Support (ALS) Eugene Schreiber to on the way. A challenging scenario awaited the team.

He arrived roughly five minutes after the train had collided with the car. Protoscape Private Ambulance Services crew members Masilo Meela, Michiel van Heerden and Davey Matlejoane were also on the scene. The driver of the car was injured but stable, but the female passenger in the back seat showed no signs of life.

David quickly turned his attention to her. It was clear she had serious head injuries -- and she was eight months pregnant.

With no signs of breathing or even a pulse from the woman, David carefully examined her stomach, searching for any sign of life. He heard no heartbeat. But suddenly, he felt a tiny kick. The baby was alive.

The crew sprang to action, beginning an emergency extrication from the car. They placed the woman on a spine board and started CPR to maintain circulation for the baby. Once she was in the ambulance, David left the scene, heading for the Polokwane Provincial Hospital to arrange for a paediatrician and a gynaecologist to be on standby for an emergency C-section.

As the medics kept up manual CPR en route to the hospital, escorted by the traffic department with flashing lights and wailing sirens, Dr Masudu – who was not supposed to be at the hospital on that day – readied himself in casualty to perform the C-section. By the time the ambulance had arrived at the hospital, the woman had been declared dead - but her baby was still alive.

Dr  Masudu decided to perform the C-Section  there and then in the casualty ward on a stretcher.

The baby was delivered in record time, but she wasn't breathing and had no pulse. David and Eugene exchanged a quick look and immediately began basic CPR. Within a few minutes, the baby had a strong pulse - but still wasn't breathing. Eugene intubated the baby to assist with ventilation, inserted an umbilical vein IV line and kept her newborn warm.

The paediatrician arrived in casualty to assist the medics and the baby was handed over. Half an hour later, the newborn started to breathe on her own. An EMS helicopter was sent to transfer her to Mangkweng Neonatal ICU. By the following morning, the little girl was in a stable condition.

Despite having been in the emergency services field for twenty years, this was the first event of its kind for all the emergency medical personnel – including the two veteran medics, who had saved the newborn and given her a fighting chance.

In Memoriam – Davey Matlejoane passed away in a car accident on the morning on 16 March 2014.

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