Royal Oak police help with baby born to couple in Beaumont parking lot

By: Sarah Wojcik | C&G Newspapers | Published May 10, 2021

File photo


ROYAL OAK/BERKLEY — At approximately 3:40 a.m. Sunday, May 2, Royal Oak emergency dispatchers received a frantic 911 call from a husband whose wife was actively in labor, police said.

Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said the couple, who were unfamiliar with the city, were driving in the area of 13 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue and needed assistance locating Beaumont Hospital.

“The caller was pretty calm, but you could hear his wife in the background and she was a lot less calm,” O’Donohue said. “A Royal Oak officer in the area flagged him down and escorted him to the emergency (entrance). Beaumont’s campus is confusing, and he just couldn’t figure out where to go.”

A member of Berkley’s Public Safety Department, who are all trained paramedics, also responded to the call when the couple’s vehicle stopped abruptly in the parking lot in front of the hospital.

The officer, Justin Childrey, stated he was on Coolidge Highway on patrol when he received the call.

“I showed up and found Mom in the passenger seat in active labor,” Childrey said. “She was actually pretty much done. She had delivered the child, so I just started assessing mom and baby.”

Childrey grabbed a medical bag from his patrol vehicle that contained an obstetrical kit, which consisted of a warming hat, warming blankets, different types of personal protective equipment and umbilical cord clamps. He then suctioned the baby and agitated his lungs to open them up so he could breathe better before clamping and cutting the cord.

“We train our guys in (emergency births), but whenever you have first responders, whoever has got the highest level of medical training is in charge, so the officer from Berkley took control of the scene and did a good job,” O’Donohue said. “They have a little kit for this as part of a medical go bag, even with a little hat they put on the baby.”

A team of health care workers from Beaumont met the couple in the parking lot and took over medical care for the baby and his mother. Police reported that both mom and baby appeared to be doing well.

Childrey, who previously worked in emergency medical services, said he’s delivered several babies in his career, but only two while on-duty as a public safety officer.

“There’s definitely a little bit of added stress,” he said of delivering a baby while on patrol. “This isn’t a normal, everyday thing, but my biggest takeaway from this is I’m just glad I was properly trained and equipped and available to help.”