• Firefighters responding to overdose split up crew to help deliver baby

    By: Evan White

    Updated:

    YARMOUTH, Mass. - Yarmouth firefighters and paramedics are being praised for calm under pressure after having to stop what they were doing for one emergency – to help with another on a busy state highway.

    Inside the Yarmouth Fire Dispatch Center, they're used to handling a lot of calls. But on Monday night, five calls came in within minutes of each other. There were several people in need of serious medical attention.

    Veteran dispatcher Christopher Ruell took the calls.

    "Unresponsive not breathing, O-D and there was chaos on the other side of the phone," Ruell told Boston 25 News.

    Two minutes later, another call was transferred from police 911. It was a labor-in-progress with contractions less than a minute apart. 

    Captain David Morley and was in Engine 43 heading down Route 28 for the first call. But on the way to the overdose, the firefighters saw a man by the side of the road flailing his arms trying to get their attention. They stopped what they were doing, turned around and came back, they realized there was a woman with that man who was giving birth.

    The man thought they were there for him, while still on hold with dispatcher Ruell.

    "He's just screaming, I don't blame him, I'd be screaming too," Cpt. Morley said. "Her water had broke and she was going to be delivering very shortly." 

    There was no time to waste.

    Morley had a crucial call to make. Deliver the baby or continue to the overdose patient.

    "It's [a difficult decision] when you have two priority ones going on at the same time, but that's what I've been doing for a long time," Cpt. Morley explained. 

    Morley chose to split the crew. He called for a second ambulance, took the mother to the hospital, and sent another ambulance to revive the man who overdosed. 

    Everyone was okay.  

    "You think about if afterwards and you can't even believe you’ve been through it sometimes," Ruell said. 

    An hour later, firefighters and EMTs were finally relieved.

    "Everybody was back, everyone was safe. Everything had worked. It was a good day," Cpt. Morley said. 

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