Guam – A GFD ambulance en-route to pickup a young woman in labor, broke down before getting to her Thursday morning. The 17 year old teen gave birth to a premature baby boy, before another ambulance arrived. The baby was pronounced dead when it eventually arrived at Naval Hospital.
Guam Fire Spokesman Joey San Nicolas says the call came in at 10:57 am Thursday. A women in Merizo was reporting abdominal pains. Scout 8 from the Umatac Station was the nearest emergency unit and it responded.
Scout 8 is a forestry unit used to put out grass fires and it is not authorized to transport patients. It arrived on the scene at 11:11 am. Its crew learned that the woman was in labor. An ambulance was then called and Scout 8’s EMS trained crew provided first aide, while they waited.
The nearest available unit was at GMH, Medic 10. But by the time Medic 10 reached Agat, smoke was filling the interior of the cab. The ambulance had broken down.
Medic 6 was then called on. It was just finishing a run to Naval Hospital and it was dispatched to Merizo, but it didn’t get there until 12:40 pm, about 10 minutes after the baby was born, and 1 hour, 43 minutes after the first call came in.
GFD Spokesman San Nicolas says that CPR was performed on the new born as it was taken to Naval Hospital.
Navy Spokeswoman Coleen S.N. Perez said the baby boy was pronounced dead. The 17 year old mother was released from Naval Hospital Friday afternoon.
GFD’s San Nicolas said that the Guam Fire Department has extended its condolences to the family calling the event a tragedy. But he cautioned that no one could say whether or not the child would have survived if Medic 10 had not broken down.
It is however the latest example of the sorry state of the island’s ambulance service which has often seen only 3, 2 or even 1 ambulance working out of the 14 vehicle fleet.
Guam Fire, the Legislature and the Administration have all worked to resolve the crisis. Their efforts paid off with a half million dollar emergency grant from the U.S. Department of Interior. The money is in the bank and a request for bids to provide 4 new ambulance is expected to go out, next week.