Genesee County 911 Dispatcher James Young (right) received an award in 2018 for assisting a child caller during a medical emergency. (Photo courtesy of Genesee County 911)

Flint, MI– In nearly ten years of working as a 911 dispatcher for Genesee County, James Young had only received two calls to help deliver a baby over the phone. 

That is, until Jan.27, when Young received two more such calls–within one hour. 

“To have two within an hour, or even on one shift, is not very common, or never happens,” Young said. “So the childbirth itself wasn’t completely new, but the experience of two pretty much back-to-back was something different for sure.”

The first call came in around 9 p.m. Young said the woman giving birth was “ready to go” as soon as she called, so the call went by fairly quickly, and he moved on. He had a couple normal calls after that, but around 10 p.m., he got another call for a baby delivery. 

“I was a little shocked, and I thought, ‘Oh, this isn’t going to happen,’” Young said. “The way the call initially started, I wasn’t sure it was going to be an imminent delivery.”

He thought the family was going to make it to the hospital before he’d have to walk them through what to do, but as the call progressed, he realized that wasn’t going to be the case. 

“It became obvious that the ambulance wasn’t going to get there before the little baby girl decided to come out,” Young said.

Young got his Emergency Medical Technician license right out of high school. After working in the private industry for a while and as a volunteer firefighter, he applied for the job to be a 911 dispatcher and found he enjoyed it. 

“So, you know, it’s another way to give public service but in a different element,” Young said. 

As a certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Young knows what kinds of questions to ask depending on the call, and what instructions to give in different scenarios. For things like CPR and childbirth, Young has guide cards of exactly what to say, and how to handle the situation.

But in spite of all his experience and knowledge, it was still a stressful experience. 

“To me, that’s probably one of the more stressful calls. … We deal with unfortunately, a bunch of you know, domestics or shootings or car crashes and all that stuff. But like, the imminent delivery of a baby is not one of the ones that we deal with on a regular basis by any means,” Young said. 

Luckily, Young said the callers all did well with his instructions, and that it was “a good team effort.”

“The second one, it was Grandma calling and she did more work than I did,” he said with a chuckle. “She was trying to help mom, and then wrangle the 1-year-old that was running around as well–plus, you know, listen to me. So it was interesting.”

The Genesee County 911 Facebook page posted about Young getting two calls for imminent delivery.

“At our 911 Center it isn’t often that our dispatchers deliver babies over the phone. Tonight, Dispatcher Young delivered 2 within the same hour. Good job!!!,” the post read.

It’s received nearly 1,000 likes, and one commenter called Young “the new stork.”

“It’s always good to get the positive feedback and see the positive moments out there,” Young said. “Unfortunately, a lot of what we deal with doesn’t necessarily have a good outcome. So having something like this that everybody can kind of rally behind is definitely a cool experience.”

Amy Diaz

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...