Give tomorrow the hope we lost today
Flying down Louis Botha Avenue at 110km/h. Swerving around cars and missing them by only centimeters. We are traveling towards Alexander with our lights flashing and sirens blaring. I hear Ben, the one paramedic, call out to Naledi, “Turn left here.” Swiftly Naledi makes the turn and we come to a screeching halt. The patient, anxiously awaits medical care from within the safety of her home.
The time is 14:24. The radio sounds a terrifying alarm. We have received a call. This is our third call of the day. The instructions come that the patient has started delivering a fetus spontaneously. She is only seven months pregnant and is home alone. She is in desperate need of medical care.
In haste we rush off to the scene. Avi, the Advanced Life Support Paramedic on duty, follows behind the ambulance. Upon arriving at the scene we discover that the mother is in absolutely agony as the fetus has been delivered feet first and it’s head is still clasped within the mother’s birth canal. The mother started going into labour only five hours preceding our arrival. Having had a check-up at her Gynecologist the previous day, she assumed that she was only experiencing pregnancy cramps and no major complications.
The Paramedics set up a drip of Saline solution but quickly abandoned administering the IV in order to aid the patient in the remainder of her delivery. With four of us attempting to aid in the birth of the fetus, the mother can no longer handle the stress and suffering that she is feeling. Avi exclaims to myself and Ben, “Fetch the stretcher immediately. We are taking Phoebe (our patient) to hospital now before both the fetus and mother are lost!” As the adrenaline pumps through my body I feel a rush yet extreme focus. I know exactly what I need to do. Without hesitation Ben and I run to fetch the stretcher.
Our first attempt to lift the patient onto the stretcher is unsuccessful. Due to the sensitivity of the situation as the patient could not close her legs, we were faced with this challenge, how to move the patient from her current position on her bed onto the stretcher without causing her further pain and discomfort. Our solution is to lift her up and onto the stretcher using her current bedding that she is resting on.
“On the count of three,” Avi calls. “One, two, three and up.” Exerting a great deal of physical energy from my arms and upper body, we are able to move Phoebe onto the stretcher whilst causing no further complications.
At this point I feel anxious for Phoebe as she appears to have lost colour in her cheeks and her energy levels are lacking. I wonder what the next half an hour will hold for her. I whisper at an almost inaudible volume, “Will she make it?”
As I continue to retain my extreme focus I pack up the first aid kit bag whilst Naledi and Ben stabilize Phoebe. I rush towards the ambulance first allowing me the opportunity to open the doors of the ambulance for the Paramedics, enabling them to insert Phoebe into the ambulance immediately, and to pack the first aid kit bag away before we speed off towards Hospital.
As we set off towards Edenvale Hospital Naledi radios in that Ambulance Alpha 61 is mobile with a priority one patient. Phoebe continued to deliver the fetus on our way to hospital. After a three day recovery in hospital, Phoebe was able to return to full health.