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Media Releases | St John Ambulance
St John NT celebrates 11 babies delivered over the phone in 2023
  27 Dec 2023

In a remarkable testament to the expertise and dedication of our Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) team, St John NT proudly announces that we have assisted in the delivery of 11 babies over the phone in 2023. Each successful delivery highlights the critical role our Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) play in providing guidance during moments of intense joy and urgency.

The most recent addition to the tally is baby Dawn, born to parents Luke and Sinead Featonby in a surprising turn of events. As the couple prepared to make their way to the Royal Darwin Hospital, baby Dawn had different plans, the newborn entered the world promptly in the front seat of their Hilux, with Luke and Sinead’s mother delivering the baby girl.

The delivery was expertly guided by EMD Kenneth Viegas, who demonstrated great composure in assisting Luke and Sinead through the unexpected birth. It marks a touching milestone for Kenneth, after only six months of working in the ECC, baby Dawn's arrival is his first delivery over the phone, which had him holding back tears of joy during the closing stages of the triple zero call.

“I was trying not to sniffle over the phone,” Kenneth joked.

“Luke did an amazing job following instructions. Both of my parents were doctors, my dad delivered babies his entire life and now that I’ve helped Luke and Sinead with their baby, it made it much more special for me.”

It was a quick sequence of events for Luke, “the show was over by the time the paramedics arrived,” he said. “I got to cut the cord then and there in the Hilux, it was beautiful and quite special.”

Noting the speed of Dawn’s arrival, Luke was guided by Kenneth by phone for only 19 minutes from the time Sinead’s water broke to bub’s birth.

“The whole experience is burned into my memory, it’s never how you expect it, we imagined a birth suite and essential oils, we never thought she’d be born in the front seat of the Hilux.” 

To date in 2023, the ECC has received 260 triple zero calls where a patient has gone into labour, of these, 6 babies have been delivered in the back of ambulance vehicles. St John NT paramedics have provided exceptional support to expectant mothers during critical moments of childbirth.

St John NT understands the importance of providing crucial assistance in situations where every second counts. Our ECC team undergoes training to ensure they can handle a diverse range of emergency situations, including childbirth. The delivery of 11 babies over the phone in 2023 is a beautiful demonstration of our EMDs ability to guide and support individuals through the emotional experience of childbirth.

St John NT extends heartfelt congratulations to Luke, Sinead, and son Jimmy on the arrival of baby Dawn and commends Kenneth on his outstanding job of guiding the family through birth of their second child.  

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