Israeli soldiers help Palestinian woman with emergency birth

By Jennifer Lipman, February 7, 2011
Sgt Nesher in training

Sgt Nesher in training

An Israeli soldier has described his dramatic rescue of a pregnant Palestinian woman after an ambulance was unable to reach her to deliver her baby.

IDF paramedic Sergeant Gilad Nesher, 20, had to deliver the baby en route to the hospital and then perform emergency resuscitation after the newborn initially struggled to breathe.

The woman phoned for a doctor in the early hours of this morning, but an ambulance could not make it to her home in the Jordan valley – five kilometres from the road - in time.

Instead Sgt Nesher and a medical crew made an emergency journey to the area, with the intention of taking the woman to hospital to give birth.

“It would have been four hours for another ambulance,” he said. “We gave the family a stretcher to bring her down so we could treat her, but it was obvious she was going to give birth in the next few minutes,” said Mr Nesher.

Despite a lack of equipment, Sgt Nesher was able to deliver the baby, but realised something was wrong.

“He wasn’t crying like a newborn should and he was too pale, so I had to do CPR for several minutes. He finally started coughing and went pink, so I knew he was out of the danger zone.

“Once he was stabilised we could tend to the mother who was also not well and give her an IV.”

“It was an amazing feeling,” said Sgt Nesher, who has had some training in delivering babies but has never done so alone and is more used to tending to victims of car accidents or heart attacks.

“It was the first time I have encountered delivery complications,” he said, adding that his team had been wonderful. “It was even more dramatic because she only spoke Arabic and I don’t, so we were communicating by gesturing. She didn’t know what was going on.”

He added: “”in that situation you don’t think about the political situation, you just give the best treatment possible.”

Finally an IDF helicopter arrived to take them to hospital. Mother and child are now recovering in Jerusalem in Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.

Last updated: 6:05pm, February 7 2011