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Paramedic Makes DIY Incubator to Save Preemie's Life

Paramedic Makes DIY Incubator to Save Preemie's Life

Paramedic Rob Dalziel with baby Sophie (six months) and parents Emily Thomlinson and Peter Hazzard. Emily's waters broke in the ambulance during a blizzard

The Daily Mail | UK

August 10, 2010

UNITED KINGDOM – Newborn Sophie Thomlinson weighed 1lb 15oz and desperately needed to go into an incubator to survive but the equipment is too bulky to be kept in his ambulance.

With time running out, Rob helped stabilize the premature child by wrapping her in a yellow clinical waste bag normally used for binning hazardous medical supplies.

The paramedic then cocooned Sophie in blankets and kept her tiny body at a safe, steady temperature in the makeshift incubator.

As the ambulance made its way to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, he carefully forced air into her lungs to keep her breathing.

Sophie spent two weeks in the hospital’s intensive care “hot room” before she was transferred to the high dependency unit at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Now, six months later, Sophie is a healthy 9Ib 11oz and at home with mum Emily, 29, and dad Peter Hazzard, 27.

Yesterday travel agent Emily was full of praise for the paramedic and his colleagues. She said: "Rob was very good at calming me and reassuring me as much as possible.

“I’ve massive respect for the ambulance crew and the NHS.

They were really incredible.

“After Sophie was born she gave a little cry but it was another 10 minutes before we reached the hospital. I was really worried. I didn’t know if Sophie would be alive when we got there.

“She is settling in really well at home, though she does have some scar tissue on her lungs from when she was ventilated.”

Emily went into labour prematurely on January 31, when roads were hit by ice and snow and the ambulance had to take a longer route.

The vehicle had to pull over while Rob and emergency care assistant Chris Carey delivered Sophie – at 7.30am on February 1. Rob, 37, said: "We put Sophie in a clinical waste bag to keep her moist and used blankets to keep her warm. Then we had to force air into her lungs.

“I’ve worked on the front line for the ambulance service for nine years and Sophie is the 11th baby whose delivery I have assisted at.

“I’m delighted that she’s now back with her parents.”

Speaking at their home in Wheatley, Oxon, Emily’s fiance Peter said: “Rob was absolutely brilliant. I was so impressed by how calm he was.”

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