York County 911 staffer helps deliver twins — over the phone

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Emergency call operators have to deal with a lot of stress on the job.

On a typical day, they may have to deal with medical emergencies or crimes in progress. But most go their entire careers without themselves stepping into the role of midwife.

Not 38-year-old Katie Jenkins. The York County 911 call-taker recently helped deliver twins.

“We never know what’s going to be on the other end of that phone,” Jenkins said Monday. “Hopefully, we’ll get to deliver more babies.”

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In February, Jenkins was over two hours into her 12-hour shift when she got the call from the woman's husband. At first, she thought the woman might be dying, because the husband was saying she wasn't going to make it.

York County 911 call-taker Katie Jenkins, who recently helped deliver twins.

After a few more questions, Jenkins realized the woman was going to give birth and that medical personnel might not arrive in time. Ordinarily, she would gather the caller's information and send it to the dispatcher, who in turn would dispatch EMTs.

“There really wasn’t much time to get him ready,” she said.

After obtaining the couple's location, Jenkins began giving advice to the couple and encouraging both the husband and the wife. It helped that Jenkins, who only began her career as a 911 call-taker last summer, is a mother herself.

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“I could completely relate to the mom, her screams of agony, her choice of words,” Jenkins said. “I’m like, ‘I know exactly what that feels like.'"

After some time, both babies were born, and Jenkins provided more advice. The first baby was swaddled in a sweatshirt; as the second baby was born, medical personnel arrived. Jenkins was given a standing ovation for her work.

“She did great,” supervisor Sheila Jennings said of Jenkins.

In honor of the delivery, Jenkins was given two stork pins for her county identification badge, one blue and one pink. On the York County 911 Center's "Tree of Life" poster, which honors the hard work of 911 operators, two flowers have been added with Jenkins' name and the two babies' birthdate.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.