Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah Task Force 1 members and Houston fire load a woman in labor into an emergency vehicle in a parking lot during Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. The woman and her husband were driving around looking for a hospital and came across the responders.
HOUSTON — Utah Task Force 1 members have seen a lot during disaster relief efforts around the country over the years.
But Wednesday brought an unexpected, though presumably blessed, event.
As they were staging outside the A 1 Flea Market store is southeast Houston, a pregnant woman and her husband pulled into the parking lot asking for help in Spanish.
“We have a young lady who is having an imminent delivery,” said Brandon Boshard, a rescue squad officer. “Luckily, we have some Spanish speakers on our task force.”
A bystander who knows the couple said they were driving around looking for a hospital until they happened on the task force rescue vehicles.
Dr. Mike Hart, an emergency room doctor at St. Mark Hospital in Salt Lake City assigned to the task force, is one of the Spanish speakers. He and a South Florida Task Force medical specialist with a full obstetrics kit jumped in to prepare the woman for delivery. She sat in the front passenger seat of a red GMC pickup truck while her anxious husband sat behind her in the extended cab.
The team called 911, but the local emergency response system is so backed up it didn’t expect an ambulance to arrive before the baby did.
Two ambulances with sirens blaring screamed passed the parking lot before a Houston fire truck arrived followed by an ambulance a short time later. Emergency workers gently placed the woman on a stretcher and loaded her in the ambulance.
“You never know what you’re going to get out here,” Hart said afterward.
The crown of the baby — who rescuers said is a girl — was showing as the ambulance rushed the expectant mother away.