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Rescuers knew time was short to save unborn baby

Kristin Farrell, right, died after the car driven by her husband, Kameron, was hit on Ulmerton Road.

Special to the Times

Kristin Farrell, right, died after the car driven by her husband, Kameron, was hit on Ulmerton Road.

LARGO — Kristin Farrell's heart had stopped and her unborn baby was in urgent danger.

If the baby was going to survive, it had to be delivered immediately.

But paramedics are not trained to perform roadside Caesarian sections.

So Largo Fire Rescue paramedics contacted medical professionals aboard the Bayflite helicopter en route to the accident Friday afternoon on Ulmerton Road.

"That was one of the last-ditch, real heroic efforts," said Largo Fire Rescue Chief Michael Wallace. "If we're going to save this baby … we're going to have to get it out."

However, Bayflite paramedics and nurses are not trained to perform in-flight Caesarian sections.

"That's beyond their scope of practice as well," said Craig Hare, Pinellas County's EMS division manager.

The baby boy, who would have been the first for Kristin and her husband, Kameron Farrell, also died as a result of Friday's accident.

According to Largo police, the Farrells were struck by two vehicles as Kameron made a U-turn on Ulmerton.

A minivan grazed the Camry, police said, before it was T-boned by an oncoming Ford Explorer. The SUV hit the passenger side of the car where Kristin Farrell was riding.

She was unresponsive but had a heartbeat when an off-duty Largo firefighter came upon the scene moments after the accident. Firefighter/EMT Ken Shipley had been at extrication training and stopped to help.

Farrell's heart stopped at the scene and a heartbeat was never recovered, Wallace said.

Farrell's cause of death has not been released. Wallace said she likely suffered severe internal injuries consistent with sudden impact crashes. One possibility, he said, is that she may have suffered a torn aorta, which can cause death within a minute or two.

In a situation like that, protocol is to get the patient to a trauma surgeon as soon as possible.

But, Wallace said, "There are occasions where if it happens right in front of a trauma center, they won't survive."

"What we know for sure is the baby was not receiving oxygen for some period of time because mom was in cardiac arrest," Wallace said. "Once you start seeing a drop in oxygen levels the baby immediately goes into distress."

On Monday, the accident was still under investigation by Largo police.

No charges have been filed or citations issued.

Rescuers knew time was short to save unborn baby 12/06/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 6, 2010 11:45pm]
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