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A doctor-in-training guided a dad through delivery during hurricane Irma

A young doctor that finished medical school three years ago talked a father from Miami through delivering his baby’s placenta, as Hurricane Irma‘s winds wreaked havoc outside his home, according to CNN.

When the mother, Tatyanna Watkins, went into labor, no ambulance could reach her due to the high winds. The placenta was stuck inside the uterus, which is a potentially deadly situation for the mother. The father, David Knight, needed to know how tu cut the umbilical cord.

Knight called the City of Miami Department of Fire-Rescue and got his call redirected to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Someone from the staff ran up to Dr. Kendra Anderson, an obstetrical resident, as she was finishing an emergency C-section on a woman.

Anderson proceeded to instruct Knight to tie a shoelace around the cord in one spot, grip it with his hand in another spot and use his other hand to cut between the two spots. “I had to make sure he cut in the right place, because dads often want to cut it in the wrong place, and the baby can bleed out,” Anderson said.

When Anderson was told that the placenta hadn’t come out despite the baby being born 36 minutes prior to the call, she knew that the mother might be in trouble. Normally, the placenta should be delivered within thirty minutes of childbirth, according to Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones, an obstetrician-gynecologist in private practice in North Carolina. If it is not delivered by then, it could be attached to the uterus and cause the mother to hemorrhage. “It’s called placenta accreta, and it’s very, very dangerous,” Kelly-Jones said.

Anderson instructed Watkins to massage her uterus to encourage the placenta to come out. When this didn’t work, she instructed Knight to be a little more aggressive, pull at the cord but not too hard – as he could invert his girlfriend’s uterus and kill her. This didn’t work as well, so Anderson instructed the dad to put pressure on Watkins’ pubic bone with one hand while pulling gently on the cord.

“I kept asking him if there was a gush of blood, or if the cord was getting longer, both signs that the placenta was on its way,” she said, but the father’s answer was no. “I started to freak out a little bit.” When she heard the father scream uncontrollably, she knew that the placenta had come out. However, the father kept on screaming, which led Anderson to keep asking “Dad, are you okay? Are you okay?”. Watkins assured Anderson that her boyfriend is fine and “just a little traumatized”.

The mother was instructed to breastfeed her new daughter, Destiny Janine Knight, in order to control the bleeding. Emergency services brought the family to the hospital when the winds died down and Anderson congratulated them in person. “It was so gratifying,” Anderson said. “I’m still kind of in awe.”

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