Written by: Norman Arnold
MOBILE, AL - Pvt. Bridgette Bennett of Grand Bay, Ala. completed Army combat medic training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas recently. Less than a week after returning home, she put her Army medical training to use in two different "real world" situations.
A member of the Alabama Army National Guard's 127th Medical Company in Mobile, she was traveling on I-10 near Mobile and came upon a one-vehicle accident. There were no police and emergency medical personnel on the scene yet, so she stopped to assist.
An older man had blown a tire and lost control of his vehicle. It flipped three times before coming to rest in the median. She got to the man and checked his airway, breathing and circulation. Two other persons who were nurses soon stopped to help.
They determined the man had no life threatening injuries, but remained with him until paramedics arrived and the patient was transported. The nurses and other emergency personnel left as Bennett went back to her vehicle where she found traffic still at a virtual standstill.
As she sat in her car, the driver of another car ran up to her telling her that a woman's water had broken and that she was having a baby. Bennett got out of her vehicle and raced across the median to the vehicle and opened the passenger door.
In her words, Bennett said, "I observed a middle-aged female in immense pain. I found out she was 38 weeks pregnant with her seventh child. Being a mother and having two children of my own, I knew this delivery was approaching soon. "
Bennett had received OB-GYN training in the combat medic course, but was still apprehensive about delivering a baby in the field for the first time. Knowing birth was imminent, she positioned the lady as best she could in the passenger seat of the car.
Two male members from another volunteer fire and rescue squad had arrived by that time, but quickly decided Bennett was the best one to deliver the child. After only a couple of pushes by the mother, a beautiful baby boy was delivered.
"After several bulb suctions and other stimulation, the baby began to cry. That was the happiest sound I have ever heard," Bennett said. She dried the baby while maintaining and clearing the airway. While doing this, she held the baby lower than the mother to try and slow the bleeding.
After about five minutes, which Bennett said "seemed like an eternity", another ambulance arrived on the scene and a paramedic cut the cord. The mother was loaded in the ambulance. "After a short time and with a heavy heart, I gave them the baby to transport to the Mobile Infirmary with the mother," Bennett said.
An Alabama State Trooper directing traffic at the scene said of Bennett, "She was awesome, she did more than the firemen."
When she finally arrived at home later that day with blood on her shoes, shorts and under her finger nails, her children, Logan, 8, and Elise, 5, listened in awe as she told them about her day.
Pvt. Bridgette Bennett of Grand Bay, Ala. is a member of the Alabama Army National Guard's 127th Medical Company in Mobile. She lives in Grand Bay day.
Pvt. Bennett summed up her feelings with two short phrases, "I love the Guard and I love being a member."