TAMPA — When 911 dispatcher Robert Dickson asked the man on the other end of the phone if the baby was visible, he expected the man to say "no." Dispatchers often receive pregnancy-related calls, and they usually have time to get the woman to a hospital.
"Oh! Oh! There's the head!" the man exclaimed.
Dickson, 26, immediately began following procedure for the call, which came in at about 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. He told the father to tell soon-to-be-mom Erica Kramer, 29, to breathe. When the baby arrived, he asked if it was a boy or a girl.
"It's a little girl," the new father said.
He was calm the whole call, which made Dickson's job easier. But that all went out the window when the girl arrived. He seemed ecstatic, and Dickson was relieved when he heard the baby cry.
He told the man to wipe the baby's face and to tie her umbilical cord with a shoelace. Then the paramedics arrived and took Kramer, of Riverview, and her baby to Brandon Regional Hospital.
This was the sixth time a baby was delivered over the phone by a Hillsborough County dispatcher since January 2008.
Dickson has dispatched for police pursuits, shootings, holdups and robberies, "but nothing will ever top helping with childbirth," he said.