MUSCATINE, Iowa—In her nine years as a MUSCOM dispatcher, Rachel Nieland has talked many people through medical emergencies. On March 8, Nieland had an unexpected experience, helping a woman in labor deliver her child.
Nieland shared she received a call about a woman who needed an ambulance. “They said the female was in labor and wasn’t going to make it to the hospital, so I helped her,” recalls Nieland.
Nieland explained that she used MUSCOM’s new Medical Priority Dispatch system, which provides dispatchers with questions and prompts to assist people in emergency situations and sends information to first responders immediately to help them better prepare for when they arrive at the scene. Nieland felt grateful that she could use the software, as it helped her coach the woman and her family through safely delivering the baby. “We used to have a card set on our desk, but now we just go through the questions and it’s much easier,” Nieland elaborated.
Fortunately, the woman delivered her baby quickly and without complications. A crew from the Nichols Volunteer Fire Department returning from another call arrived shortly afterwards and transported the mother and child to the hospital safely.
After the call, Nieland felt excited and a little overwhelmed, “this is my first one,” she said. “It feels kind of like a rite of passage.” The experience also served as a right of passage for the Medical Priority System, as no dispatcher had used it for a delivery before.
Later that day, one of the first responders who helped the woman and her baby contacted Nieland to congratulate her. “A first responder called in after the fact and he said I did a great job,” added Nieland. She really appreciated the call, as it gave closure to the surprising event and time to learn a little more about the baby she helped deliver. “It’s nice when people on the other end fill us in,” she shared.
As a dispatcher, Nieland never knows what she will help with when she answers the phone. Now though, she has experience delivering a baby and knows that one little Muscatine County resident came into the world because of her help.