A premature baby was successfully delivered and subsequently resuscitated by two volunteer EMTs under the live video guidance of senior specialists from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon after she unexpectedly started coming out in a breech position. The dramatic rescue in rare circumstances happened on Tuesday just after 3:00 A.M. in Kiryat Gat. The 24-year-old mother, who was in her 35th week of pregnancy, had alerted emergency services after seeing her baby’s leg had started to come out in the middle of the night.

United Hatzalah volunteers pose with a newborn infant after an emergency home birth illustration.v1 2 300x234 1
United Hatzalah volunteers pose with a newborn infant after an emergency home birth (illustration)

Tzvi Yosef Shapira, a United Hatzalah volunteer who was one of the two EMTs who delivered and resuscitated the baby, relayed: “When I arrived at the scene together with another EMT, we found that the baby’s entire lower body had already exited the birth canal. We updated the dispatch center and were instructed by the doctor on-call not to intervene until the arrival of the intensive care ambulance crew, due to the complexity of the situation. We insisted that the baby’s skin looked blue, suggesting a lack of oxygen, and that something needed to be done immediately in order to save her life.”

In response, the dispatch center reached out to senior doctors at Barzilai Medical Center, the hospital closest to the location of the emergency, and less than a minute later the EMTs were on a video call with a senior OB-GYN, a senior pediatrician, and three midwives from the hospital’s maternity unit. Using a doll to demonstrate the steps needed to deliver the breech baby, the OB-GYN guided the two EMTs in order to carry out the delivery without causing harm to the baby or the mother. 

“We did exactly as we were shown and very quickly we were able to extract the infant from the birth canal, but she was pulseless and not breathing,” the volunteer recounted. “We immediately initiated CPR, applying compressions on the baby girl’s chest and providing her with assisted ventilation. We were very worried, but thankfully, after a few tense moments, the baby’s pulse was restored.,” Shapira added.

A few minutes later, a regular ambulance arrived at the scene, approximately 20 minutes after the two volunteers had made their way to the scene, and joined the efforts to save the baby girl. 10 minutes after that, as she was losing her pulse again, the intensive care ambulance crew arrived and helped the EMTs at the scene revive her for the second time. This time, she began to breathe as well. 

The team of first responders then transferred the baby to the ambulance, which transported her to the hospital without her mother in order to arrive at the maternity ward as soon as possible, as per the request of the obstetrician. Her skin had now started to regain a standard color, and she was lively and reacting to her surroundings. After the baby was evacuated, the two volunteers attended to the mother, who had lost large quantities of blood. They helped treat and stabilize her and then she too was taken to the hospital for further care. 

The newborn is currently in stable condition and under supervision in the hospital’s NICU.

“I’ve been a volunteer EMT for 9 years and I’ve never encountered anything like this,” Shapira explained. “I usually don’t like to speak about myself, but in this case, I can definitely say that we acted with composure and professionalism in very strenuous circumstances and the results speak for themselves. The cooperation between first responders, the doctors, and later the ambulance teams, was impressive and resulted in two lives being saved. It will take me a long time to fully appreciate what we just accomplished.”

Special thanks to the Jewish Federation of Greater Chicago for their continued support for our Kiryat Gat volunteer medics, which allows us to train additional volunteers, and provide them with lifesaving equipment.