Special Delivery: PA Woman Gives Birth in Ambulance on Way to Hospital

While taking one patient to the hospital on Thursday, a Boswell ambulance crew added a second patient without stopping the vehicle.

By Randy Griffith

The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

(MCT)

While taking one patient to the hospital on Thursday, a Boswell ambulance crew added a second patient without stopping the vehicle.

Jamie Coleman, of Berlin, was on her way to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown when she gave birth to her third son, Westin, in the back of the ambulance.

“He just thought, ‘I’m ready now,’ ” Coleman said in a telephone interview from the hospital.

She and her fiancé, Zach Howard, had been driving to the hospital when it became apparent Coleman’s third son was on his way. They called 911 and were met by the ambulance along U.S. Route 219 between Jennerstown and Jerome. Boswell Volunteer Fire Company paramedic Jason Beener and emergency medical technician Joel Bumbarger transferred Coleman into the ambulance and headed for Johnstown.

While emergency medical personnel are trained in labor and delivery, they seldom are on hand for an actual birth, said Mike Shumaker, emergency medical services commander for the Boswell fire company.

“We have calls for emergency childbirth, but usually they make it to the hospital,” Shumaker said.

Word of the delivery-on-wheels soon reached the Boswell community.

“Everybody was excited about the arrival of a healthy baby boy,” Shumaker said. “The crew was excited because they got to bring a life into the world.”

Word also spread through Westin’s family.

“They were all shocked that I had him in the ambulance,” Coleman said.

Conemaugh was not even the couple’s planned destination as Coleman went into labor. She had been under the care of Julie Huston, certified nurse midwife with Allegheny Health Network, who was seeing patients in Somerset. Coleman planned to have her baby at AHN Jefferson Hospital in Allegheny County south of Pittsburgh.

As it became apparent Westin was coming quickly, it was decided that the family would head to Johnstown. But Westin had his own plan.

Coleman said the Boswell crew and Conemaugh team provided excellent care, and there were no complications with the delivery.

“We get to go home now,” Coleman said Friday evening.

Westin joins a family that also includes older brothers Hunter Mills, and Waylon and Briar Howard.

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