Calm heads are hailed for being Brave@Heart in tough birth

Kevin Douglass, Mark Neil, Susan Blake and Robert Anderson are rewarded by the First Minister for their efforts in saving a newborn baby, at the Brave@heart Awards ceremony in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening.
Kevin Douglass, Mark Neil, Susan Blake and Robert Anderson are rewarded by the First Minister for their efforts in saving a newborn baby, at the Brave@heart Awards ceremony in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening.

Three paramedics and an ambulance technician from the Borders were this week rewarded by the First Minister for their efforts in saving a newborn baby.

The heroic quartet were presented with the award by Nicola Sturgeon at the Brave@Heart Awards, held at a special event at Edinburgh Castle, which hailed the bravery and heroism of 47 individuals from the emergency and voluntary sectors.

On the day in question, Paramedic Robert Anderson and technician Susan Angus were dispatched to a patient presenting a breech birth at her home.

The crew was presented with a footling breech, with the baby’s head stuck and the cord stuck tight around the baby’s neck.

Robert tried some positional attempts to ease the baby out, while his colleague called the obstetrics ward at the local hospital for advice.

It became clear that the baby’s survival rested on the advice from the consultant to pull the baby out.

Robert held the baby’s neck and body and pulled her free.

The wee girl wasn’t breathing when she was delivered and the crew urgently moved to resuscitation mode.

By then, a back-up crew arrived and paramedics Mark Neil and Kevin Douglass then assisted with resuscitation and care of the mother.

With Susan driving and Robert and Mark continuing to resuscitate the baby, she began to have a pulse and as they approached hospital she made attempts to breathe.

Shortly after the ambulance left the house the consultant and midwife arrived and helped Kevin with the care of the mum.

The entire incident lasted 26 minutes, and the mother and baby made a full recovery.

The First Minister praised the award winners in her speech.

Mrs Sturgeon said: “Each year I am honoured and humbled to be able to present these awards to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary bravery.

“This is our chance to say a heartfelt thank you to those who, every day risk their lives in their professional roles and to members of the public who have stepped in to help a fellow citizen in danger or distress.

“Everyone who has been nominated for an award is a credit to Scotland and an inspiration to us all.”

Six of the winners also received the St Andrew’s Award for exceptional acts of bravery.

Judging panel chairperson, Lindsay Burley, said: “In my final year as chair of the judging panel I am amazed by the heroism demonstrated by all those nominated for an award.

“We must never forget how privileged we are to have such dedicated emergency professionals and members of the public, willing to assist even when their own lives are in danger. They are an inspiration to us all and I would like to offer my congratulations to all the winners.”

Paramedic Mark Neil told The Southern: “We are all very humbled to receive this prestigious award for what we do day in, day out.

“It’s nice to be recognised in this way as it doesn’t happen often, but this occasion saw the crews meet their biggest fear and it’s what we train for.

“These types of jobs don’t happen every day, you’ll maybe only see it once in your career.

“It’s of great happiness that what we all did that day as a team made a positive outcome for baby and parents.”