Woman gives birth to baby in car after dad crashes on way to hospital
A woman gave birth to a baby girl in a car early Monday after her panicked husband slammed into a concrete barrier while rushing to the hospital.
Hongwei Zhang ran across lanes of Genesee Avenue and frantically flagged down a passing car, waving his arms and standing in front of it to get the driver to stop.
Lucky for the couple, the driver was a registered nurse who had just finished her shift at Scripps Memorial Hospital and was heading home shortly before 3 a.m.
“He was saying, ‘My wife, my wife!’ The next thing he said was, ‘The baby came!’” recalled Dayna Dumont, who works in the emergency department at Scripps. “I quickly jumped out of my car.”
Dumont said the couple’s car looked like it was totaled, with both airbags deployed. She tried to open the passenger door, but it was stuck because of the damage.
Zhang was able to get it open.
There, in the front seat, Dumont found Ying Shi, a no-longer-pregnant woman. Her baby girl was already out.
Dumont checked to make sure the umbilical cord wasn’t around the infant’s neck. It wasn’t.
“I took a peek and there was a baby,” Dumont said. “(The mother) was in the (seat) with the baby between her legs and in her pants.”
The woman’s husband called 911 but he was having difficulty explaining where they were. The phone synced with the Bluetooth in the car and Dumont ended up talking to the dispatcher, telling her precisely where the car had crashed.
San Diego police said it appeared the husband had taken a wide turn onto Genesee after exiting from southbound Interstate 5 and slammed into several concrete barriers.
“I didn’t think the baby had actually arrived,” Dumont recalled. “The mom was sitting there so calmly. I was asking, are you in any pain or discomfort, and she said no... She was just asking, ‘Is the baby OK?’ ”
Dumont, 31, has been a nurse for six years and has worked at Scripps for a year. She had never delivered a baby before. Technically, she still hasn’t.
After paramedics arrived, Dumont held the baby in place as a medic cut the umbilical cord. The nurse made sure the mother and baby were safely in the ambulance before she got back into her car and headed home.
Zhang and Shi didn’t want to be interviewed, but issued a statement through the hospital, thanking all those who helped them.
“First of all, as Christians we want to thank God for keeping us safe through all of this. Next, we want to thank all of the people who gave us help,” they said. “When this happened, we thought we were all alone. But very quickly, a woman stopped to help us and called 911. Then a man stopped to assist. They were both complete strangers but they stopped to help us anyway.”
The parents said they were grateful for the paramedics who took care of them and their baby and grateful for the doctors, nurses and staff at Scripps.
They said their daughter, who they named Anna, is “doing wonderful.”
2:52 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from the nurse who assisted the family.
11:36 p.m.: This article was updated after the couple issued a statement from the hospital.
This article was originally published at 7:25 a.m.
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