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Apr-20-2010 16:45printcommentsVideo

Amazing Home Birth With the Help of a 911 Dispatcher

At 9:04 this morning, a Salem-area couple delivered their baby, only it wasn't in the hospital, it was in their home.

The newborn baby, Andrew James, with his mom and dad, Ryan and Lisa, grandma Sue and big sister.  Courtesy: Ryan Morris
The newborn baby, Andrew James, with his mom and dad, Ryan and Lisa, grandma Sue and big sister. Courtesy: Ryan Morris

(SALEM, Ore.) - A dispatcher-in-training helped deliver a healthy baby by proxy today through a 911 call. Kathryn Wheeler had been on the clock for three hours and four minutes, when a dad-to-be dialed 911 with the type of call dispatchers can go years without receiving.

Ryan and Lisa Morris of Salem, Oregon, didn't have time to get in the car and head for the hospital.

"As the couple was preparing to leave for the hospital, their soon-to-be newborn decided to come sooner than expected," Battalion Chief/Paramedic Patrick J. Wineman with Marion County Fire District No. 1 said.

"I certainly think that this is the best use of the 911 system in this community. It demonstrated the system's ability to come together exquisitely well when it needs to."

Wineman confirmed that 911 dispatcher deliveries are very unique, adding that it was the talk around the station all day.

"In my career, it has happened a total of five times. It is pretty rare."

The confident manner of the dispatcher caused me to assume she was a person who had transferred in from another agency, instead it was a direct result of her training.

"Well it was nice to have really in-depth training; we rehearse these scenarios, but it was really something different because a lot of people around here have never had this happen on their shift."

Here is the 911 call of Andrew James Morris's grand entrance

Kathryn is new in her career, she isn't a mom and she has never delivered a baby in the past, but she was such a pro. When I called her to ask a few questions, I told her there is no dispatcher I would rather have if I was ever in Ryan Morris's shoes. We laughed, but I meant it.

She said, "It is very exciting, a great start to the day."

Her demeanor seemed to work for Ryan Morris, who was incredibly calm during the high tension call.

The baby's mom, 28-year old Lisa Morris, gave birth to Andrew James Morris, a healthy 7 pounds 14 and 1/2 ounces, but not without a couple of startling moments.

During the delivery, Kathryn heard Ryan state that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck.

Knowing the cord risked the child's life, Wheeler instructed the caller to slide the cord over the baby's head, relieving the restricted airway. About that time, the baby was born. It was an extremely emotional 911 call.

Kathryn Wheeler, who was supervised by 14 year veteran Training Officer Christi Wolfe, provided the essential emergency medical instructions over the phone until Marion County Fire District firefighters & paramedics arrived. When the medics arrived, Paramedic Juan DeLeon discovered that, with the helpful and calm assistance of family, Lisa, with the help of Ryan, her mom and Kathryn, had fully delivered the baby. Medics transported both mom Lisa and newborn Andrew to an area hospital for further monitoring. Happily, they are both doing well.


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Jeff V June 23, 2010 11:10 am (Pacific time)

I played baseball and went to school with Ryan. He was always a great guy. Way to be!


gp April 20, 2010 8:17 pm (Pacific time)

Mama was wonderful and Gramma was terrific! Dad was wonderfully calm. What a fine birth Congratulations to this family. Welcome to the world baby.

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