FORT FAIRFIELD- A TAMC Crown Ambulance crew based in Fort Fairfield is being hailed heroic as their expert training was used last night to rescue a woman unexpectedly delivering twins at her residence.
Critical Care Paramedic Fred Parsons and EMT Intermediate Matt McPherson were on duty at The Aroostook Medical Center’s (TAMC) Crown Ambulance base in Fort Fairfield just after 7 p.m. when they heard a dispatch call go out for first responders to a residence in the community where a woman had just delivered the first of her two twins. The crew responded immediately, heading out to the home before the official call came in to their station.
“When we first arrived at the residence we were directed to a small second floor bathroom by an off-duty Fort Fairfield police officer who was the first on the scene. The mother had not experienced any obvious signs of labor and suddenly found herself delivering the babies seven weeks prematurely. The first of the two twins had already been delivered by and the baby was on the floor not breathing,” said Parsons, a veteran TAMC paramedic with 35 years of experience. “The mother at that point was in distress and we went into action as a team to care for the newborn, mother and unborn child.”
McPherson was first tasked with taking care of the newborn. He clamped and cut the umbilical cord and cleared the baby’s airway so it could breath on its own. At that point a number of other responders from the Fort Fairfield Fire Department and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent – also a trained EMT, were on site. A second TAMC Crown Ambulance crew from Presque Isle was en route.
Directing efforts on scene and focused on the mother, Parsons next worked with MacPherson on what ended up being a more complicated delivery of the second twin. The baby was breech.
“We saw the leg and knew this would be a far more challenging delivery. I remembered what I was taught in school and it all came together. We helped the mother deliver the baby,” said 32-year-old McPherson. “I never expected my first delivery to be like this or with twins. It’s one of those really unforgettable experiences you can’t describe with words. We just wanted to make sure mom and babies were fine and breathing – which we successfully did.”
Shortly after the second twin was delivered at 7:17 p.m. the TAMC Crown Ambulance crew from Presque Isle consisting of Critical Care Paramedics Ryan Morneault and Travis Norsworthy arrived on scene. That crew then took responsibility for the two newborns, transporting them to the emergency room at TAMC’s A. R. Gould Hospital in Presque Isle.
Parsons and McPherson took care of the mother transporting her to the emergency room where a team of doctors and nurses from both the E.R. and obstetrical unit were awaiting the arrival of the twins and their mother. The medical professionals at the hospital, who collectively came together to care for the family, worked to stabilize the patients before moving them to the O. B. unit.
“It’s like any other call. You step back, take a deep breath, remember your training, and just do it,” said a humble McPherson a few hours after the excitement. “It’s pretty neat and amazing. Just knowing that the babies are okay makes it all worthwhile. It’s one of the best rewards of being an EMT.”
The experience was also a first for Parsons, who has been in emergency medical transport since 1978. He recalls one other time when he had to deliver a baby in an ambulance en route from Mars Hill to Presque Isle in early 1980’s. Never before has he been involved in the delivery of twins and in a circumstance resembling anything close to this event.
“It’s that kind of a situation that you train for that when it happens you hope things all fall into place, and they did,” said Parsons. “It was amazing. It was a team effort that I am extremely proud to have been a part of. It’s one of those stories I’ll certainly sit back in my rocking chair and tell for years to come.”