Although delivering babies is not part of his job description, Woodhull Hospital Service Aide William Vega says he just did what came naturally when he saw a pregnant woman and a male companion getting off a bus near the hospital one morning last fall.
“I heard screams and saw she was in distress,” said Vega, a 16-year New York City Health+Hospitals employee and Local 420 shop steward. “Through the fence I saw him trying to carry her, to hold her up. I ran into the lobby, grabbed a wheelchair and ran to help them.”
The birthing began just 10 feet from the hospital’s entrance.
“I rushed her straight to Labor and Delivery on the 7th floor,” Vega said. “As the elevator opened on seven, the baby’s head came out. The mother delivered right in front of the nurses’ station. Everyone pitched in.”
Vega was honored for his quick action at a hospital employee recognition ceremony in December.
“I don’t feel like a hero,” said Vega. “I always say, ‘It’s not a job – it’s an adventure.’ On any given day anything can happen. Just think, if I wasn’t there that baby would have been born on the cold and rainy streets instead of in a warm, clean hospital.”
Local 420 President Carmen Charles said, “Mr. Vega exemplifies the dedication and commitment our union members have to helping all New Yorkers. They make NYC Health+Hospitals, which is the largest public health care system in this country, one of the best.”