Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Flood-stranded woman gives birth

Flooded Braintree
Some roads in and around Braintree became impassable

Ambulance officers battled through floodwaters in Essex to reach a pregnant woman, then helped her give birth to a boy.

The East of England Ambulance Service said the woman and baby were both well after the birth in Braintree.

It said the two ambulance officers used a spare ambulance to negotiate flooded roads after a midwife was unable to reach the woman.

The pair arrived at the woman's home about five minutes before the birth.

Steve Monk, an emergency care practitioner (ECP) with the ambulance service, said: "The family had tried to get to hospital earlier but had been forced to turn back due to flooding in the area.

'Nick of time'

"We arrived just in the nick of time to help the woman deliver her baby."

The ambulance service said the ECPs, who would normally have travelled separately by rapid response car, decided to take a spare ambulance, hoping the larger vehicle would fare better on flooded roads.

Steve Colmer, the other ECP who attended, said: "A midwife had been called but was unable to get to the address due to flooded roads.

"The ambulance service liaised with police to ensure she would have suitable transport to the family's home.

Within four to five minutes of our arrival, a healthy 8lb 13oz boy was born with no complications
Steve Colmer,
East of England Ambulance Service

"In the meantime, we travelled there in the ambulance as quickly as we could, despite having to make a diversion to avoid an impassable road.

"Within four to five minutes of our arrival, a healthy 8lb 13oz boy was born with no complications.

"The midwife arrived shortly afterwards. The proud dad was able to cut the cord."

The ambulance officers stayed with the family for a couple of hours and carried out checks on the baby with the midwife.

Mr Monk said: "Fortunately they didn't need to go to hospital, and the family, including a proud older sister, were able to stay at home, allowing the new addition to settle in comfortably."

Mr Colmer and Mr Monk are both paramedics who have gained additional skills in a range of areas to become ECPs.

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