by Martin Ricard | February 23, 2016
In his 20 years as an emergency dispatcher, Robert Vega has delivered babies on the spot and dealt with calls from women about to give birth, but the call he got through the California Highway Patrol dispatch center last October was one for the books.
Vega, a member of AFSCME Local 829 in San Mateo County, was patched in to a cell phone call from a pregnant woman who was in labor – and there were no paramedics on the scene.
“When I first answered the line, she was freaking out and talking over the CHP dispatcher's voice,” Vega said. He had to think quickly to help the frantic woman, who was about to give birth.
After asking the woman some questions, Vega determined that the baby was already on its way and there was no time to get her to a hospital. So he did what he always does on every call – worked to keep the woman calm. Then he proceeded to instruct her how to deliver the baby on her own.
A few minutes later, the baby came out, safe and sound.
“This was a completely different feeling as I didn't feel as in control of the situation as I would be if a medic was at the scene,” Vega said. “It was a very unique and exciting call.”
They may not be celebrated in TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” but emergency dispatchers like Vega are everyday heroes in their communities, always ready to respond to the call of duty. Like many AFSCME members who are there to answer the call, Vega is proud to serve.
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