Shari Foote

Shari Foote

(Red Oak) -- Quick thinking and extensive training helped a Montgomery County dispatcher with a tricky medical call recently--one involving a baby's birth.

At around 7 a.m. on January 6th, veteran 911 Dispatcher Shari Foote received a call from a rural Elliott woman whose water had broken, and was about to give birth. Foote tells KMA News she followed specific protocol based on training received for just such an emergency.

"We're actually certified in CPR and what we call EMD--Emergency Medical Dispatch," said Foote. "On those types of calls, we actually have a dispatch system, where we read a series of questions, and after reading that series of questions from the information we gather there, it tells which card to go to."

Based on the information provided by the woman, Foote surmised the woman was in the advanced stage of delivery.

"She had gone beyond the typical pregnancy questions you asked, since she was in active labor," said Foote. "So, we switched to, basically, a child birth card, and it gives you step-by-step instructions that you give to the caller, and reassure the caller that help is coming, and different steps we follow."

Foote says both the mother and someone there with her followed her instructions, and made a smooth delivery.

"The caller and the subject that was with her did very well listening to instructions," said Foote. "She had already progressed into the birthing process when they had called. So, we gave them instructions on what to do when the baby got there. The whole process took probably 15 to 18 minutes total from the time of the call until she actually gave birth to the baby."

Foote says the baby was born as rescue personnel from Red Oak Fire and Rescue and Elliott First Responders arrived at the scene. Both the mother and baby boy were taken to Cass County Memorial Hospital for treatment.

In her 24 years, Foote has handled scores of emergency medical calls, but never a baby delivery. Foote says her certification via the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch, plus constant training with fellow dispatchers helped her handle the situation.

"We take calls," she said. "We talk to each other about situations that happen in the calls, and talk each other through it. And, we constantly train. This isn't a job where you want to be lax, and not constantly have training. We strive to do that. We do a lot of on-line and free training with the COVID situation, and not being able to go somewhere to train. So, we constantly train."

Foote also thanks her co-workers and her supervisor, Jackie Laire, for their support. The mother later thanked Foote on Montgomery County 911's Facebook page for helping her through the delivery. The mother added her child was doing "amazing."

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