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For 911 dispatchers, there is no such thing as an uneventful shift.
“I’ve got someone trying to assault me,” said a woman who called Chagrin Valley Dispatch, a Cleveland-area communication center in the documentary series “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen. “I have a busted lip.”
As a Chagrin Valley dispatcher sent officials to the scene, she talked with the caller and tried to keep the situation from becoming more violent. Police officers arrived within minutes and arrested the male. They reported that the caller needed treatment for facial injuries. EMS transported her to the hospital.
In another call, a panicked mother reported that her baby was choking on something — possibly a piece of banana. “I just don’t know how to get it out of her,” she said. Dispatcher Kaitlyn Schroeder, who was 28 weeks into her own pregnancy, related to the mother’s anxiety.
“The baby’s crying,” she told the caller. “That means she’s getting oxygen. She’s crying. That’s good.” Paramedics arrived in minutes and treated the baby at the scene. The infant was breathing and did not need further medical attention.
“Putting myself in most parents’ shoes is so much more scary and so much more of a deeper situation now,” Schroeder told producers.
Urgency escalated at Chagrin Valley Dispatch when a distraught woman called and said she just delivered her baby at home. “I just had my baby,” she said. “I just went to labor and had my baby in the toilet. Please help?”
Schroeder confirmed the baby was out of the toilet and breathing. The caller said she could see the newborn’s chest rising and falling. The dispatcher instructed the mom to turn the infant on her side and to wipe her nose and mouth to further enable breathing.
“This call is so dangerous and the stakes are so high because I have not heard this baby cry on the call,” Schroeder told producers.
The dispatcher instructed the mom to stimulate crying by rubbing the baby’s back with the towel. When that failed to produce cries, a fellow dispatcher suggested flicking the baby’s foot with a finger — another way to get the infant to cry.
EMS arrived on the scene. The mother, her 2-year-old, and the newborn were transported to the hospital. Paramedics confirmed the baby girl was happy and healthy.
For her efforts, Schroeder received a commendation letter from her supervisor. “I felt really good about the call and the way that I ended up handling it,’ she said. “My emotions and my hormones are flying real high right now. Just getting that validation and support from them was really great.”
Also during the shift, an individual told a dispatcher that he was “a victim of love.” To learn more about that call and Chagrin Valley Dispatch, watch “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.
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