Saturday, January 1, 2011

A baby that shouldn't be dead

A reader wrote me an email addressing the tragic issue of a newborn baby dying in New York City during the blizzard.  I thought our correspondence might be of interest to all.

Dear Patrice,

I have been reading your blog for several years and it is good to hear your opinions on the state of the world! I want to write to you today about the situation in New York City. Never before has it been so glaringly obvious to me what is going to happen to the people in this country if they don't attempt a new mindset. Of course, it is more difficult to do that when you live in a big city and are used to every convenience. We live out in the country.

The most distressing story I read was about a young woman who lost a newborn baby in the lobby of an apartment building. This situation begs the following questions: 1) did she not know that there was a catastrophic storm on the way? 2) did she not know her EDC? 3) could she not plan for the possibility that she might have to have a baby the old-fashioned way (as women have done for hundreds of years)? I hope I do not sound cold or uncaring, but all the information I could find implied that the baby was not early. And of course, there is the issue of the unions protesting by not plowing the streets. But were there no other people around? Couldn't one woman have helped her? I used this as a lesson for my daughters. I had two babies at home and I had a choice about it. The most important thing is your attitude. Do you think having a baby at home a dreadful, horrible, life-threatening situation? Only if you make it that way. The moral of this story and the lesson to be learned is BE PREPARED!

Thanks for listening,
A reader

My reply:

It's funny you should bring up this issue. Last evening I was talking to a neighbor, a young woman about to embark on a three-month missionary trip to the Philippines to further her education in midwifery (this is Maid Elizabeth, Enola Gay's oldest daughter if you follow her blog). We were talking about the very subject of the baby. It was Maid Elizabeth's understanding that the baby was born healthy - i.e. no medical issues - so why on earth did the baby die? I said that some mothers have no bonding instinct, a sort of total disconnect with their infant (I saw such a case once and it wasn't pretty). So if the new mother had no concept how to put the baby skin-to-skin under warm clothes/blankets and no concept of breastfeeding, then the baby probably died of just plain exposure. While I am furious at the NYC sanitation workers for not doing their job, this new mother also had a job - caring for her infant. And as you say, where was everyone else? Was there no other woman nearby who could have shown the new mother what to do?

I'm in the middle of reading "One Second After," which tells the aftermath of an EMP attack which brings down the power grid. The sad part is, the vast vast majority of urban dwellers - no matter how innocent - are entirely dependent on the grid and the infrastructure that grid provides. It's a terrifying scenario to realize how helpless and trapped so many people will be - many of my own immediate family included - should things go wrong.

Yet cities thrived in the 19th century. Perhaps not to the standards of cleanliness and sanitation we have today, but they still existed. But they existed because the support base was still relatively local AND people still had a moral foundation. Sadly, neither is in force today. (shaking head) I thank the good Lord we don't live in NYC.

Best regards
Patrice Lewis


  1. I was born in NYC and lived there for 33 years.

    "Of course, it is more difficult to do that when you live in a big city and are used to every convenience."

    There are lots of great things about living in a major city, but one of the worst things in my mind is the assumption in the minds of the residents that all the things they have grown used to will always exist. A friend in his 60's who lives in NYC has never learned to drive. Why should he bother when he can get anywhere he wants by subway and bus? Forget ever wanting to go anyplace outside of NYC.

    "could she not plan for the possibility that she might have to have a baby the old-fashioned way (as women have done for hundreds of years)?"

    She might be aware at least in vague concept that it is possible to have a baby somewhere other than at a hospital, and to get to the hospital by some other means than an ambulance. The odds that she ever thought that _she_ might not be able to call 911 and get a free ride to the hospital are probably somewhere between slim and none.

    "The moral of this story and the lesson to be learned is BE PREPARED!"

    In the 1960's in NYC I joined the Boy Scouts whose motto is "Be Prepared". I quit when I discovered that the main thing they did on trips was hang out in their tents and gamble. They also liked to swim, but no one could be bothered to teach me. If the Boy Scouts in NYC don't really believe in their Motto, do you think the average person on the street does?

    "And as you say, where was everyone else? Was there no other woman nearby who could have shown the new mother what to do?"

    Even when I lived in NYC there was a strong "don't get involved, look the other way" tendency. I can remember stories of women getting attacked on the street in front of multiple witnesses who did nothing.

    "The sad part is, the vast vast majority of urban dwellers - no matter how innocent - are entirely dependent on the grid and the infrastructure that grid provides."

    I lived in NYC during both of the great North East blackouts. If either of those blackouts had lasted much longer than the couple of days they did, then many more lives would have been lost. The first blackout was recovered from in a relatively short time mostly because a power plant operator used his brain and disobeyed orders.

    "I thank the good Lord we don't live in NYC"

    One of the best things that ever happened to our family was when we moved out of NYC. It took a career change to make that happen, but it lead directly to our family (and now our grand children) living in better places. I thank God we had the opportunity to escape, and the courage to take it.

  2. I too was horrified by this article and reserched it. Apparently the girl was giving the baby up for adoption and her family did not know she was pregnant, she was trying to get to the hospital and had to duck into the lobby because she could go no further. Six hours after the call come in that the baby was crowning EMS arrived to find the baby dead and the cord uncut.

    Probably this young women had not nursed the baby which in itself could have killed it.

    My question is why no one offered to let this women give birth in their apartment?

    The whole thing is so sad, but shows how little women educate themselves on childbirth. They just assume that someone will take care of them.

  3. I once read an article I found interesting, on zoo breeding programs. In the past, a pregnant animal was normally secluded from the rest of the population she may be with, to protect her and the expected infant from the stress of public viewing and the possible bullying of fellow animals.

    This worked well enough for animals that lived in loosely bonded groups, and excellent for non-bonded animals, who tend to live a solitary life in the wild. But with animals that always live in families or herds, it was terrible. Mothers almost always rejected their newborns.

    Most especially in primates, gorillas, apes and monkeys, zoologists discovered that leaving the expectant mother with the troop was best. There was bullying and jealousy from animals that had no young of their own at the moment, but the older experienced mothers would gather around and insist the new mother care for her baby. The would, quite obviously, make her carry it correctly, clean it and feed it. The old ones would protect her from the jealous ones.

    While humans are not just animals, and are assuredly created special and separate from the beasts of the world, all of Gods creatures have some similarities from which we learn lessons. The lesson here is, we are meant to be close. Like the animals that live in families, we are meant to help each other. What one does not know, another does. When one cannot protect, the others will. When we separate ourselves from the natural order of life things start going wrong.

  4. So sad! Just another example of someone waiting for 'the government' to help them when they could have easily done it themselves. Patrice, I just finished reading "One Second After" and I highly recommend it. Yes, it's a novel, but the situations are very real. It made me rethink my preparations. I didn't change anything but it cast a new light on everything we do to Prep and it gave me details that will help others (if only they will listen). Readers, ask your local library to get this for you. Patrice, keep up the good work.
    God bless,
    Janet in MA

  5. According to the article, the young lady was a college student who had decided, along with her college boyfriend father of the baby, to not tell anyone she was pregnant and adopt the baby out. That is probably why there wasn't any help available. Also, by refusing to acknowledge the baby, she was able to put the baby up for adoption easier in her mind. That also might be why she may not have bonded skin to skin with the baby. These are not excuses but mostly trying to understand how a person could let a baby die. So very sad. She said she didn't want to disappoint her family by letting them know she was pregnant.

  6. Responding to the last line in Tricia's post:
    " She said she didn't want to disappoint her family by letting them know she was pregnant."

    How sad is that ? What kind of relationship does she have with her parents that she can't come to them with this? I would never be over joyed at the thought of my unmarried ,presummably "teenagish" child ( not sure of her age) becoming a parent. But I would NEVER want either of MY kids to feel they could not talk to me about this should it ever happen. I am there for them and I love them no matter what and it is not something that is unsurmountable .....Sadly, a proper and safe out come for all could have been achieved if she felt she could come to her parents for help.


  7. I do not believe this young girl is the callous monster some of you would like to believe she is. Friends of ours were waiting for this young woman to deliver the baby that was to be theirs, by adoption. She did, from what I understand, have an offer of lodging here, locally, from someone connected with a crisis pregnancy center. She declined, deciding against good advice to travel so close to her due date (the 31st, I believe...which means that the baby, WAS, in fact, early.)

    When I first heard what had happened, I admit that I was a bit angry with her, knowing how my friends were joyfully anticipating this baby's arrival.

    But, then, I started to imagine myself in this woman's place. Have any of you EVER been in a situation like this? Can you imagine yourself in this city with NOT A PERSON by your side...unable to reach the hospital by automobile...never having given birth before...scared to disappoint your family...scared of the pain of childbirth...

    She made mistakes, yes...but made the choice to carry this precious baby to term. She chose LIFE, people!

    Janet in MA...I don't see how she was waiting for the "government" to help her. That's mean-spirited and unkind.

    Perhaps you all would be interested to know that this young woman, after delivering this child, began to hemorhage, and required surgery to stop the bleeding. Perhaps, THAT is why she did not bond "skin-to-skin" with her baby. Perhaps, she was busy fighting for her own life.

    Trish...let her baby die? Were you there?

    This is just sickening.
    May God have mercy on you...even when you have none for others.


  8. what a sad story. It's clear that the blame is being placed on the mayor (and it does appear that the city dropped the ball in properly preparing and dealing with the snow), but the mother is portrayed as an innocent victim. Like many of you have said, there doesn't appear to be any reason for the baby to have died.

    It is unfortunate that no one was there to help her, but she couldn't keep the baby alive for an hour? Did she even try? The article says that she called at 4:30 to say the baby was crowning, and hour later NYPD was there, and the baby was unconscious. From the info given (which is very little) there doesn't seem to be a reason other than neglect.

    And in NYC, there is def. a crowd which folks think, 'someone else will surely help, so I don't need to.' I grew up just outside the city.

    So sad

  9. @ Kris
    You have the inside story on this tragedy. I was reading the article in the newspaper. Very little information was given. I was trying to offer a reason why this girl may not have been able to take care of the baby. I know people who have been in this situation and am very grateful whenever any mother chooses life. That was not in question.

  10. Kris:
    Judge much?

    "When I first heard what had happened, I admit that I was a bit angry with her…"

    That would be when YOU knew MORE than the commenters you now condemn.

    "Can you imagine yourself in this city with NOT A PERSON by your side...unable to reach the hospital by automobile...never having given birth before...scared to disappoint your family...scared of the pain of childbirth…"

    We all know and applaud that she chose life. That is not the point here. The point of this whole thread is self-reliance, and preparedness. All of the things in your quote above are things this girl had a responsibility to know, and prepare for, but did not, and the tragic consequences of that. And fear of disappointing your parents is NOT an acceptable reason to put a life in danger.

    "Janet in MA...I don't see how she was waiting for the "government" to help her. That's mean-spirited and unkind."

    Having rejected all other timely help that HAD been offered, just who WAS she waiting for, Kris?

    I see none of the lack of "mercy," or the "callous monster," nor the "liking to believe" in these comments that you seem to, just the pointing out of knowable facts and plausible to likely possibilities that this young mother could and should have prepared for -- including her OWN possible need for immediate treatment for birth complications.

    These were irresponsible choices, Kris, and someone died. TWO people could have died. Those are just facts. The LAST thing this poor young girl needs is for someone to help her to avoid responsibility. She WILL blame herself, regardless what you say, and the only way I know for her to forgive herself is to recognize, and accept the part of the responsibility that is hers. And I pray that she will, because loving forgiveness awaits her.

    Bill Smith

  11. Save the Canning JarsJanuary 1, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Hey All,

    As a former maternal/child registered nurse (and a mom who wanted to birth her last child at home), I'll "follow my spleen" and refrain from commenting on this part of the post! (Wow, just imagine me keeping my opinions to myself for once!)

    BUT I will comment on the book One Second After.
    That book was a wake up call to me. I knew it could get bad post EMP attack, but never did I imagine 100 plus member gangs who loot and kill the innocent, and I never imagined cannibalism in the U.S. either. Good luck getting Americans to read a congressional report on EMP, but they just might read this book which includes the information...woven into a fictional story. I bought my own copy so that I could mark out the strong language and then passed the "cleaned up version" to family to read. I have a new and improved game plan because of this book. Thanks for the insightful topics you present Patrice. The time to wrap up the final details of preparedness is now.

  12. NYC has over 8 million residents. In a city that huge, I'm surprised more babies didn't die during the blizzard of 2010.

    I don't know any of the facts or rumors surrounding this tragic death, except what I've read here. I do know that pregnancy out of wedlock is inexcusable these days. If she truly didn't want to upset her parents, perhaps she should have thought of that BEFORE she engaged in sex with her boyfriend. If she didn't want to have a baby, perhaps she should have used some form of birth control.

    If she had made it to the hospital, who would have paid for the expense of the delivery and after-care? I am sure it wouldn't have been her or her boyfriend, it would have been the taxpayers.

    While I have some pity for this young woman, I have much more pity for her dead baby. I have pity for the couple who was ready to adopt the child. And I have pity for the taxpayers who ALWAYS get screwed by the lazy, the thoughtless, the irresponsible, and the government.

    Whatever the reason for the ambulance not getting to her in time to save the baby, ultimately the responsibility for her health and that of the baby's lies with her because she was the person who was pregnant. When will people be required to accept responsibility for their choices? I've had enough of the bleeding hearts and the turn-a-blind-eye do-gooders.

    Some might consider my comments cold and callous. I really don't care because those who would label my words in that way are part of the problem.

    Anonymous Patriot

  13. Bill,

    To my knowledge, she was walking to the hospital to get the proper care she and her baby other words, since she could not access the hospital by motorized means, she was attempting, on foot, to get the immediate help you accused her of neglecting. She was in the midst of labor (something I'm almost positive you've never experienced) and could make it no further. If you are fortunate enough to have children of your own, I'm sure you can acknowledge the somewhat unpredictable nature of the labor process.

    There are several factors at play here. Her bad decision to leave this state for another. Poor family relationships that hindered her honest communication and request for help. The alienating nature of life in a big city. Overwhelming weather conditions. A perfect storm, if you will.

    I understand the preparedness aspect is where most people are coming from here. My husband and I are certainly like-minded with you in that regard. However, there are, at times, circumstances that are beyond our control, circumstances that even our best attempts at "preparedness" cannot abate.

    I do not deny that she bears responsibility. I do not deny that, had she stayed here, the outcome could very well have been favorable...for her, for the baby, and for the adoptive parents. I'm sure this will haunt her for the rest of her life.

    And while I wholeheartedly believe in preparedness and personal responsibility, I do not believe it's at all helpful to denegrate those who have made poor choices. I have made plenty myself, and probably will again. I just do not see how speculation about her motives or lack of mothering instincts is helpful to your purposes here.

    Preparation is a good thing, but we are not God, and hindsight is 20/20.

    I'm thankful for His loving forgiveness in my life. I will pray that she receives it as well.


  14. this story said alot about what has become of a society of people who call themselves "civilised". i am glad that i do not have to call nyc home.

  15. Kris:

    Wow. "Mercy," "callous monster," and "liking to believe" didn't work, so now you roll out "immediate help you accused her of neglecting," and denegrat[ing] those who have made poor choices…"

    "ACCUSED" her of neglecting, Kris? She DID neglect it! What word would you prefer? ("Rejected" was my original word, BTW.) What word, Kris?

    A "perfect storm?" It was a PREDICTED storm, Kris. Predicted to be just as bad as it was.

    Was the suspected union job action predicted? No. But we must always expect the unexpected.

    And why do you need to make us -- make me -- the perfect bad guys? Huh? Why do you seem to need to use all those blaming words?

    I did not "denigrate" her. I pointed out obvious, really bad errors in judgement, which you now acknowledge, and I stand by every comma I wrote. But I didn't use blaming, nasty words.

    Confronting someone with their bad choices -- ESPECIALLY when those chooses have a large part in someone's death, Kris -- is an act of Christian Love for the reasons I already explained.

    Helping someone RUN from their responsibilities is helping them to run AWAY from being able to stand guiltless, blameless, and Forgiven with their head held high.

    I think you'll find this in secular schools of psychological thought as well, not just in Christian teaching. Call it forgiving herself if you like. But your misplaced protection, and insulation from responsibility will keep her from the Peace of Forgiveness she probably needs right now.

    If you love this young woman, I hope you will give this some thought.

    Bill Smith
    Not perfect, just Forgiven

  16. Kris:

    I said some things that I intended for non-Christians, not you, but I didn't make that at all clear, and I should have. I am sorry for that.

    Bill Smith

  17. Kris, I don't buy your story.

    Neither do I judge this young woman.

    I can, however, discern there are troubling questions surrounding this tragedy that might extend well beyond the morally odious and apparently criminal negligence of those who designed and took part in the union 'job action.'

    One can only hope the baby's death will be properly investigated, because like AP my greatest empathy is for the dead child. It had no choices and no option to prepare. The same cannot be said about the baby's parents. These are clear and simple facts which in and of themselves give rise to some serious questions of personal responsibility and accountability which need to be answered for the benefit of everyone concerned.


  18. I think we should all focus on the reality here. This girl probably did not "neglect" her baby. Most likley she just didn't know what to do to take care of it. Remember that most young women have never even been around a baby before they have one. Most Amercian children are put directly into daycare that is segregated into age groups, so they never see infants or infant care until they reach adulthood. Think of that! Two whole genereations of human beings raised without any practicle expierience in infant care.

    95% of women in america do not breastfeed their babies. All the knowledge that has been lost from this rapid de-generation of our womans wisdom will be very difficult to regain.

    There was a time when a young women could look to her mother or grandmother for advice in childbirth and knowledge on all the little things it takes to care for a baby. But now our mothers work full time and would rather go in for "schedualed" C sections than go through birth.

    My mother would have had no idea how to help me give birth if I had been in the same situation as this girl. How many Amercian women would have had any usefull knowledge if they had walked in on this situation? They may have been able to tell her to keep the baby warm, but most likly not to breastfeed it.

    When I had my first baby I was the first women in three generations of my family to breast feed. My mother had no idea how to help me start nursing and after a horrific engorgment and almost giving up I had to go back to the hospital so that the lactition consultant could help me. Thankfully I was able to nurse all of my children through the first year. But over those years I learned alot of hard lessons because there were no "wise older women" to instruct me on what to do and what was normal.

    I now have had 2 home births and while I was pregnant I studied hard to learn all about natural childbirth. But from talking to other women, even Christian women, I realize that 99% of American women have no idea how to deal with imminant birth. Or even want to know. They just say that they will go to the emergency room.

    I feel terrible for this poor woman. I bless her for choosing life for her baby. I don't think she "neglected" the baby. I just think she didn't know what to do, and no one else did either. This is simply an example that we must prepare ourselves for dealing with childbirth and the aftermath. One older, wise women could have made all the difference to this girl and baby. We as women should strive to have that wisdom to pass on to our own daughters.

  19. Crocadile Dundee said of NYC:
    "7 Million all living like this? They must be really great mates."

    And this:
    "When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  20. To be fair to the young mother, it seems that there really isn't enough information to be able to make an accurate judgement on her ability to care for her newborn. According to this article it appears that the 22-year-old mother was attended at the birth by both police officers and residents of the apartment building. If I am understanding the article correctly (and if it's accurate info.),the baby was not breathing at birth, and was not able to be revived. So, it's possible that the mother, or someone in attendance, might have known to cover the baby and put it to the breast, but if the baby were unconscious from the start, then it wouldn't have made a difference. The loss of the baby is certainly tragic, but we just can't know (based on this minimal information) whether the problem could have been remedied if the mother had given birth at a hospital, although it does seem very likely. (FYI Kris, a singleton is considered "full term" at 38 weeks, so the baby was indeed full term and not early.)

    What's really sad is that it *seems* to me (in agreement with Patrice, and others) that so many of the circumstances this young mother found herself in were avoidable. If I'm reading Kris' post correctly, the mother had traveled from her hometown to the town of (presumably) the birth parents, around the time of an expected winter blizzard. We don't know where she came from, or what the weather was like there, but it's at least possible that they weren't expecting a blizzard, and she could've gotten to a hospital in time for the birth. Or at least, she would have had friends and neighbors nearby who could have helped. She then turned down an offer to stay with a local resident, associated with a crisis pg. center, who most likely would have had at least a rudimentary knowlege of childbirth, or at least would have been familiar with what to expect during a blizzard, and could have offered help in getting to a hospital on time.
    (continued below...)


  21. So many questions remain unanswered...where was the father? If the mother knew she might be giving birth during the blizzard, why didn't she (or did she?) have a plan for getting to the hospital, other than hoofing it on her own? Was there no one for her to call to come and provide transportation and/or assistance--someone connected with the adoption, perhaps? Why was a laboring woman(at any stage of labor) given non-emergency status, if she was in an apartment lobby and not being attended by someone experienced in childbirth?

    I find it hard to believe that during the long day, no one came to help the young mother. In fact, I don't believe it. What I do believe is that, as Chloris stated, women have lost the knowlege that used to be taken for granted--how to turn a baby that is breech or posterior, how to position a mother in such a way as to make labor less painful and more effective (you KNOW that poor young woman was probably flat on her back!), how to check for a nuchal cord, and the very basics of caring for a newborn--clearing the airways, skin-to-skin contact with the mother, rubbing the baby to get the circulation going, early and frequent nursing. The apparent fact that the baby was crowning for approximately an hour is a red flag for me; my first reaction is to assume that the baby's oxygen supply was compromised in utero, a circumstance that could possibly have been remedied by a woman experienced in childbirth--or a farmer!

    It's beyond frustrating that the roads weren't plowed, that the necessary emergency responders couldn't get to the mother in time, that there seemingly wasn't a "doctor in the house," but as others have already stated, it could have been avoided, with a different mindset, and a little preparation. I am thankful for my family's newfound rural lifestyle, for our four homebirths, for our desire to become less dependent on government help--an attitude that is easier in the country, but not impossible in the city. and for the fact that my sixteen-year-old daughter would have had more sense than to walk to a hospital during a blizzard, because she knows that babies can be born safely at home, and she would have told me about the baby in the first place. It could have ended differently; it should have ended differently.


  22. She probably called 911 as soon as she went into labor. The 911 operators are trained to tell you "Don't move. Wait for help." I think she was awesome to strike it out on her own. One article said she started on her journey even before the snow had stopped blowing. She's a totally independent kind of girl. (Honestly, sounds like something I would have done when 22 too!)

    So let's analyze what happens after she gets to the lobby:

    Girl in labor walks through the door- they call 911. They hear the standard "Don't move. Wait for help.", as all 911 operators are trained to say. And why shouldn't they wait? The blizzard is still going and shortly afterwards the plows will hit the streets. Within a couple of hours some roads will be clear enough that an ambulance can get through. The doctor/EMT on the phone is telling them that first child labors take a long time so there's no rush. She probably hasn't even reached that 3-minutes contraction interval, the sign that the birth is a lot closer and you need to finally go to the hospital.

    The hours tick by and somebody calls 911 again. Why hasn't the ambulance come yet? They slowly start to realize that the city is in a total shutdown. By this time the contractions are coming a lot more frequently and it's debatable whether it's a good idea to move her. Even if the hospital is just 6 miles away, that can take 2 hrs when you're trudging through the snow. The mom-to-be is so worried that she tries to take off on her own to the hospital again. I wonder if she sensed there was something wrong.

    The baby is about to come. They've talked with the doctor/EMT on the phone and gone over the procedure. A police officer is there to help. The water is boiling and everybody is nervous but excited. They've seen it a hundred times on tv, right? You know, how the husband delivers the baby on the side of the road during rush hour traffic? How bad could it get? But being born is probably the most dangerous thing we've done in our lives...

    I tear up to think of what happened next. All those people frantically trying to get that baby to breath. The person on the other end of the phone trying to give instructions. The tired mom laying there helplessly watching. How everybody turned to the police officer, hoping he had some magic training that could solve this problem. I wonder how long they tried before they handed him to his mom and said those terrible words, "I'm sorry. We tried."

    There were other labor stories from the blizzard. Nobody in these stories made their husbands go through midwife training in the name of prepardness either. Most preparing centers around staying home and surviving, not preparing to travel in snow-bound conditions. This baby simply needed professional help. We all do at some times. Let's recognize that and stop accusing her of not doing enough and not being motherly to her child.

    Here's some stories with a bit of better cheer:

  23. A friend of mine had her first baby in the backseat of the family car, with her dh driving over 70 mph. He refused to stop the car & help her because "she wasn't the type of woman to have her baby in the backseat." (btw, they are now divorced.)

    Well, she did, after a long labor. She nearly passed out & was unaware for a while - she didn't know how long. She finally remembered her baby & managed to to get it up to her chest & wrap it in the blanket.

    The baby was cold, but she kept cuddling her until they got to the hospital.

    This was a well-educated young woman who knew what was going on. Had it been colder, or taken longer for her to wake up or get to the hospital, her first baby might well have died.

    In other words, we weren't with the young woman in NYC so we don't know what really happened. My dh always says, "The news doesn't give us the whole story."

  24. Nothing about this whole incident surprises me. My work phone number is 911. When I tell people about the calls that we take on a daily basis, most are absolutely stunned. They always ask at least once if I'm serious. People call 911 for anything and everything. A large segment of the population is absolutely helpless. A generation of helpless, ignorant parents with absolutely nothing to pass on, creating generations of helpless, ignorant children. In the past hour I've taken a call from a woman who had a 24-hour-old litter of puppies that wouldn't stop whining, and a woman who didn't know how to silence the timer on her stove. There have been a number of stories in the news recently about abuse of the 911 system by people who didn't get the sauce they wanted with their chicken nuggets. Unfortunately these are NOT isolated events. This is my world every day. The volume of calls we take from people without the slightest clue about dealing with the most trivial everyday issues - issues that have NOTHING to do with emergencies or anything involving the police, fire or EMS departments - is staggering. I'm not the least bit surprised when a UWA (un-weaned adult)city dweller can't cope with something that is actually a REAL problem. Scared maybe, but not surprised.