Dyersburg dispatcher helps deliver baby by phone

DYERSBURG, TN (WMC-TV) - A Dyersburg dispatcher had quite a story to tell after she helped deliver a baby over the phone, despite a major language barrier.

Dyer County's dispatch center gets hundreds of calls every day, but dispatcher Debbie Sanders had no idea she'd ever take a 911 call like the one that came in last Sunday morning.

"It showed the area it was plotted in, and didn't show the address," she said. "So she hung up the phone on me. So we sent officers to investigate an unknown problem."

That unknown problem turned out to be a little more than Sanders bargained for.

She could not get the female back on the phone, so she sent officers to the area where the call came from.

Once officers arrived at the house, they found a Hispanic female about to give birth to a baby. She didn't speak English.

"The officers told her to put the phone up to their ear and she held the phone up and we gave instructions on how to take care of the baby until paramedics arrived," Sanders said.

The mother, newborn baby and other family members live just down the street from the dispatch center.  The mother said the baby is doing fine, and she's thankful for all the help she has received.

"I didn't think that much of it at first, but I guess it is kind of a big deal," Sanders said.

That big deal that could have been much bigger without the help of a calming voice on the other end of the phone line.

Sanders said that in her 11-year career, this was the first time she ever had to help someone give birth over the telephone.

She said when and if it happens again, she'll definitely be more prepared to deal with it.

Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.