“I worked as an ambulance dispatcher when I was pregnant with my kid. This was my last night shift before maternity leave. We worked in a system where the county 911 dispatchers would take the calls, then tell us where to go and what was happening.
This one was: ‘Caller says that his wife had a baby and something is very wrong.’
That was already bad. I sent an ambulance.
Less than 60 seconds after going on the scene, the paramedic came up on the radio and said, ‘We need a second ambulance.’
So I sent a second ambulance. About a minute after going on the scene, they left, transporting one patient.
The first rig transported one emergent as well. They were at the hospital for about half an hour before one of the EMTs called me and gave me the lowdown on why both crews’ cleanup was taking so long. He said that the mother didn’t believe in Western medicine, so she didn’t get prenatal care. The baby was born with his intestines outside of his body, but the bigger problem was that the baby wasn’t breathing. The mother was in a second ambulance due to severe internal bleeding. The baby did not survive.
My relief came in when it was time for me to go. In a moment of hormonal irrationality, I refused to leave work. I told him, ‘No. Look at the call. I’m not going. I’ll just stay here and not go on maternity leave.’
I did eventually go home and have the kid, and he was fine…but that one still haunts me.”