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Texas medic delivers baby on side of road

The firefighter-medic climbed into the car where a woman was in labor, and emerged with a healthy baby boy just as an ambulance arrived

By Tammye Nash
Cleburne Times-Review

LILIAN, Texas — Lt. Donny Hallmark has been a paramedic for about 10 years, and he’s seen more than one baby being born. But Tuesday morning was a first for the Johnson County Emergency Services District No. 1 firefighter when he helped deliver a baby by himself — in a car on the side of the road.

“We train on it a lot, but I’ve never actually delivered a baby myself before,” Hallmark said Tuesday afternoon. “During our clinical rotations in paramedic school, they required us to do a rotation on the [obstetrics] ward. I’ve assisted with delivering a baby before, but there was always a doctor there.”

The call came into 911 about 9 a.m. Tuesday that a woman was in labor and needed help. ESD Engine 90 was dispatched, and Hallmark and his fellow firefighters arrived at the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 917 and County Road 616, near Lillian, to find a car on the side of the road with a woman inside, obviously in labor. 

Because the ambulance had not arrived on the scene, Hallmark crawled inside the vehicle to help the woman. With his crew outside offering support and advice, Hallmark delivered the healthy baby boy a few minutes later.

“I would have to say the mom did most of the work,” Hallmark said. “I was just there to help.”

Both mother and child appeared healthy, according to a news release from the ESD. And shortly after the baby was born, an ambulance arrived to transport them both to an area hospital.

Even though it was his first experience delivering a baby in the field, Hallmark said he wasn’t scared when he crawled into that car.

“I had a good group of guys with me, and a couple of the guys there had actually delivered babies before. So they were there to help me and give me advice and make sure everything was OK,” he said. “I was nervous, of course, just hoping that everything turned out OK.”

ESD Executive Director Burney Baskett said that firefighters these days do so much more than fight fires. About 70 percent of their calls involve medical calls.

“But,” Baskett said, “in a line of work where one can see so much of the bad stuff, it is great to see these firefighters be able to help bring a life into this world. Lt. Hallmark and his crew did a great job, as usual.

“I am just glad everything turned out all right, and I am glad we could be a part of it.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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