|District Council 57|
Dispatcher Comes to the Rescue for Delivery of Twins
It takes a special kind of person to be an emergency dispatcher.
Their job isn’t just to dispatch police cars and ambulances during a crisis. They have to be able to keep callers calm, find solutions quickly and coach people through all types of emergencies—usually on their worst day—all the while coordinating the critical services they might need.
Those skills were recently put to the test for Patty Hubbard, a longtime 911 dispatcher for the San Jose Fire Department, who delivered twins over the phone. But just like the rest of our members who are emergency dispatchers and usually the “first” first responders, Hubbard handled the delivery in heroic fashion and even made history for the city.
“My adrenaline was going all over the place,” said Hubbard, a member of Municipal Employees’ Federation (Local 101). “I was thinking to myself after the fact: ‘I’m not going to be able to sleep when I get home.’
On April 15, just before daylight, Hubbard received a frantic call from a resident who said his wife, who was 35 weeks pregnant with twins, had gone into labor. Within seconds of talking to the man, Hubbard realized there was no time to get the woman to the hospital. Soon after, a baby girl was born on the floor of the couple’s house. But that wasn’t the end of the call.
A few minutes later, the man told Hubbard that the second baby was coming—but feet-first this time. Hubbard had helped people give birth over the phone before but never twins and certainly not with a baby coming feet-first, which is a challenge all in itself.
Hubbard didn't flinch and, following protocol and using her 32 years of experience in dealing with emergencies, she walked the man through the second delivery—another baby girl—over the phone. The entire delivery of the twins took place in less than 10 minutes. Soon after the delivery, firefighters arrived and were able to take over.
Hubbard has been receiving praise from her department ever since that day because it appears to be the first time a San Jose Fire emergency dispatcher has ever delivered twins over the phone.
“Her ability to continuously provide appropriate and relevant instructions throughout this very fast delivery of twins is nothing short of amazing,” said Hubbard’s supervisor, Brian Van Den Broeke.
For Hubbard, handling the delivery was one of the most challenging moments of her career but also an example of her dedication to her job. She travels nearly three hours to get to and from work every day and, despite a rough childhood, has a unique ability to block out negativity and help people in crisis.
“With the phone calls, you have to live in the moment to help the person,” she said. “If a lot of stuff is getting to you, then you won’t be able to do what’s needed to help whoever is calling in.”
Hubbard’s ability to handle emergencies also is the reason why we fight so hard for 911 dispatchers. As public employees, they aren’t always recognized for the strenuous conditions in which they work even though their services are crucial for providing public safety.
The father of the twins recently wrote an email to the Fire Department thanking Hubbard and the others involved for helping the couple with the delivery. Both of the girls are now at home with their parents, safe and healthy.
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