Swanton EMS Paramedics Deliver Baby Boy

At approximately 2:30 PM on Friday, February 24th, two crews of Swanton Fire and Rescue Division (SFRD) paramedics were dispatched to the Swanton Meadows Trailer Park in the Ai community of Fulton County on a medical emergency.  En route, the paramedics, Colin Fessenden, Jeff Dawson, Drew Brennan, Bryan Pouter and EMS intern Natalie Smith, were informed the emergency might involve a pregnancy and a language barrier as well. To further complicate the situation, an incorrect trailer lot number was communicated to the crews causing a delay in the response time.

When the crews finally arrived, they were unable to get a response from anyone inside after repeated shouting and knocks on the door.  They entered the home, searched several rooms and went back outside and called for law enforcement assistance.  Soon after, they heard a scream from just inside the front door, reentered and discovered a young woman who had crawled from the back of the trailer, laying on the floor.  Dawson, a 34-year veteran who was working with this crew for the first time, was the first one in, followed by Fessenden.  They quickly assessed the situation and began to administer care.  Within five minutes, the Swanton paramedics, who had been treating one patient, were tasked with treating two, the second one a fragile and vulnerable newborn.

“She just kind of sat back and we were outside getting things ready and we turned around and he (Fessenden) looked as said, ‘Baby!’ and there it was,” said Dawson.  “So, we just delivered it, clamped it off, cut the cord and the baby started spontaneously crying.  We warmed it up, took it out to the truck as they took care of mom and then suctioned the infant.  Mom and baby did fine on the way to the hospital.”

What made this story even more amazing was how fast the events transpired from the time the call came in at 2:30 PM to the birth of the child at 2:56 PM, a mere 26 minutes, most of which was travel time to the scene.  Combined with the obstacles of dealing with the language barrier, where the mother spoke no English and none of the crew spoke Spanish, delivering the baby inside a house trailer rather than a sterilized hospital delivery room with a complete maternity staff, and all but one of the crew with no actual emergency birthing experience, the outcome was nothing short of a miracle. 

Despite the varying levels of training and experience among the crew members and the short time they had worked together, they all worked in sync, each knowing and executing their specific responsibility.  “We looked like we have worked together for six years,” stated Pouter.  “It went as smooth as it could for this situation,” added Dawson.  “Some people never do it in their career.  It’s a life experience.”

Two weeks later, mother and child were reported still doing well according to Swanton Fire Chief Ed Dziengelewski.  The Chief commended all the members of his crew for their efforts in the chaotic situation and praised the Fulton County Dispatchers for their help, including providing a translator to tackle the language barrier.  They did exactly what they were supposed to do, hands down,” he said.  “The crew handled everything perfectly.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

At the next Swanton Village Council meeting on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 6:00 PM, a proclamation will be read in honor of the SFDR crew members and their commendable efforts of that day.

Photo: Swanton FRD Paramedics L to R) – Colin Fessenden, Jeff Dawson, Bryan Pouter, Drew Brennan, (Not Pictured) Natalie Smith

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