Doctor about to give birth helps to deliver another patient’s baby in distress, and then gives birth herself
Kentucky obstetrician Dr. Amanda Hess arrived at hospital last week with the expectation of delivering one baby. However while she was in the room preparing to give birth to her second child, she realised that the woman in labour two doors down was in need of immediate attention as the baby’s heartbeat was starting to drop dangerously low. Dr. Hess was aware that the on-call doctor needed was out of the building at that time, so she slipped on some splash-proof boots over her flip-flops, dashed to patient Leah Halliday-Johnson’s room and delivered the baby herself. Hess spoke to PEOPLE magazine about the incredible story: “It was urgent that baby was delivered right away,” Hess said. “Then I walked back and one hour later I started contractions.”
The excitement started on Sunday, July 23 after Dr. Hess, 38, checked into the hospital where she is on staff, Frankfort Regional Medical Center in Frankfort, Kentucky, and changed into a patient gown. While waiting to begin the procedures to have her labour induced, she glanced at the computer screen in her room that alerts the medical staff to patients’ conditions and immediately noticed that an unknown woman was having complications with her pregnancy. The situation was dire. The baby’s heartbeat kept falling steeply during contractions, she says. Simultaneously, Dr. Hess’s husband heard frantic screams of pain coming from down the hallway. “I heard nurses running down the hallway,” Hess says. “I said, ‘Do you guys need some help?'”
The on-call OB/GYN wasn’t in the building, having just tended to a woman in the emergency room who had problems with her delivery and then left after nurses told him no patients were currently in the maternity wing, Hess said. However a few moments later, both Halliday-Johnson, 38, and Hess were admitted to have their babies. The other doctor was on his way back but still about 10 minutes away so nurses asked Halliday-Johnson to try not to push, Hess says. But the child had the umbilical cord loosely wrapped around her neck. Hess knew with certainty that the baby had to be delivered immediately.
“I said, ‘We don’t have time for that,’ ” Hess recalls, and after covering herself quickly with another gown, left her room and walked to Halliday-Johnson’s, and recognized her as one of her medical group’s patients. “She was definitely in doctor mode,” Halliday Johnson told WLEX-18. “My husband noticed something was going on because she had on a hospital gown, but I didn’t notice that because I was on the delivery table. I was in my own world there.”
After she helped deliver Halliday Johnson’s baby, Hess went back to her own room and was induced a mere hour later. Eleven hours later and Hess had given birth to her own baby girl who she named Ellen Joyce at 9:30am the next morning.
Talking about her incredible decision to act that day, Hess told WLEX-18, “Delivering other peoples’ babies is something I do every day. And I’m more comfortable with delivering someone else’s baby than my own, for sure.”
"Pretty amazing what she did," Halliday Johnson told US news source LEX 18. "I feel very lucky she was there," the grateful new mother said.