9-1-1 officer provided a calm presence and valuable guidance
Cameron Courtney may be small but he knows how to make an entrance.
Just ask Vicky Blacquiere, who served as telephone coach to Cameron’s parents during his unexpected birth at home in New Perth, PEI.
Blacquiere was working as communications officer at Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Charlottetown when she got a frantic phone call from Daniel McLarty and Santana Courtney.
“Dan was really excited. He said my partner is giving birth. I asked how she was doing and how far apart contractions were and he said I can see the head.”
The mom was still standing at that point.
“I told them this is happening now, get her down on the floor.”
Using the Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) introduced last year, Blacquiere was able to provide detailed minute-by-minute advice to the couple. The EMD system – available to EMS workers both on-screen and in hard copy – allows communication officers to give step-by-step guidance over the telephone so that people in distress can begin hands-on treatment.
“Prior to this system, really what I could do with an emergency call is tell the caller that paramedics are on their way,” Blacquiere said. “Now the EMD lets me give someone step by step instructions for CPR or dressing a wound. You can be involved quite literally in saving somebody’s life. But I always wanted to be involved in helping someone deliver a baby.”
That opportunity came around 2:30 pm on October 29, 2018 when Blacquiere got that frantic call from McLarty and news that Courtney was in the process of giving birth in the couple’s home.
The couple remembers Blacquiere providing a much needed calm presence and valuable guidance.
“We didn’t really know what to do,” Courtney said. “She just said it’s happening, get down, you can do this.”
McLarty said the presence of an informed person made a huge difference for their unexpected home birth.
“She was able to offer us advice even though she wasn’t there. She told me how to check for the umbilical cord and guide the baby out,” he said. “It was good just to have someone to tell us what was happening and what to expect.”
As Blacquiere offered advice, Courtney and McLarty shepherded their new son into the world
“Once the baby was born, she even told me how I had to tie off the umbilical cord,” he said. “I ended up using the lace out of a new pair of boots.”
Courtney said she was thrilled to meet Blacquiere in January, and have her hold baby Cameron.
“It just seemed right. She was there when all three of us needed her,” Courtney said.
Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Mitchell, visited the EMS offices when Blacquiere met up with little Cameron Courtney and his parents.
“When the EMD system was brought in we knew it would be helping people by giving them advice and support at a time when they need it,” the minister said. “This is really gratifying to be able to see someone who has benefitted from this program and to see a health worker recognized in this way.”