STRASBURG – Town Police Chief Wayne Sager credits Good Samaritans for helping deliver a woman’s baby at a local gas station Friday afternoon.
Shenandoah County emergency dispatchers received a call at approximately 2 p.m. about a female going into labor at the 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station on Old Valley Pike. Sager and Officer Paul Bernd from the Strasburg Police Department responded to the call, followed by fire and rescue personnel.
A man and a woman at the store had already stepped in to help deliver the baby — a girl — in the convenience store parking lot, Sager said.
“The baby was delivered and they were tending to the baby, treating the baby and they were doing an amazing (job),” Sager said. “I can’t speak enough about that.”
The Good Samaritans asked for items they could use to keep the baby warm, he recalled.
“All I had ... was the shirt on my back so I took my shirt off to help out the baby until we could try to get some more blankets,” Sager said.
Store owner Janice Sager found blankets for the infant, the chief said.
At one point, the people who responded needed to clear the baby’s airway to allow the infant to breathe, Sager said. The woman who helped deliver the baby had a nasal-suction device used to clear an infant’s air passage because she has a child of her own, the chief recalled. The Good Samaritan used the suction device to clear the infant’s airway and get the child to breathe, he said.
“God must’ve put them in the right place at the right time,” the chief said, adding later: “If that lady wouldn’t have been there with the proper equipment ...”
An ambulance crew with the Strasburg Rescue Squad that responded to the call then took the infant and its mother to Winchester Medical Center, Sager said. He added that he received an update on the child, who was in stable condition at the hospital as of late Friday afternoon. He added that the infant likely is undergoing further medical treatment. The chief said he did not know the condition of the infant’s mother.
Strasburg police and fire and rescue personnel responded to a severe motor vehicle crash on Pendleton Lane “a matter of seconds” before they received the call of the female going into labor, limiting available resources for the medical matter, the chief said. Eventually, a town police officer and fire and rescue responders became available and went to the scene to assist.
“I can’t thank enough the two citizens that came to the rescue and ... there were people there willing to help in a great show of community and being there for one another,” Sager said.
As a result of the “learning experience,” the chief said he plans to put in every officer’s police vehicles medical supply kits specifically equipped for delivering babies.