EMSA Dispatch Supervisor Honored for Involvement in Baby's Rescue

TULSA, Okla. (Jan. 8, 2014) -- EMSA Dispatch Supervisor Melissa Hudson, NREMT-B, has been a lifeline for Oklahomans in crisis for more than 21 years. On January 9, 2014, Tulsa City Councilors will honor Hudson for her remarkable dedication, expertise and persistence that helped rescue a premature newborn last month.

Around 2 a.m. December 9, Hudson answered a 911 call from a man who believed a woman at his residence was having a miscarriage. But only 40 seconds later, the situation had changed significantly. The baby - a tiny boy - was alive but struggling to survive, and a domestic altercation erupted. As the EMSA ambulance and first responders raced to the scene, Hudson worked feverishly to calm the caller's fury and focus his attention on the vulnerable patient.

"Sir, this is not the baby's fault," said Hudson to the fuming caller. "I can tell you what to do, but I need you to follow my instructions."

When the man proved uncooperative, Hudson pressed to talk to someone else at the residence who would follow pre-arrival instructions.

"Sir, let me talk to somebody else, okay?" urged Hudson.

"Why? What do you need to talk to somebody else for?" the caller demanded.

Responded Hudson, "We need to help the baby, okay, and right now you're not able to help the baby." At Hudson's urging, the man relinquished the phone to the baby's weak and frightened mother. But the man continued to yell so loudly it impeded Hudson's ability to communicate with the mother. So Hudson convinced the man to quiet down long enough to determine the baby was alive and attempting to breathe. She gave the mother instructions on stimulating the newborn, keeping him warm until responders arrived and tying off the umbilical cord.

After a few more harrowing moments - eight minutes after the baby's surprise birth - Hudson heard a welcome voice on the other end of the line.

"Ma'am, this is Officer Goldstein with the Tulsa Police Department. What do you need us to do?" said the first responder to arrive on the scene.

Hudson directed Goldstein to continue stimulating the baby and monitoring his condition. Two minutes later, EMSA paramedics arrived on the scene and found both the baby boy alive and breathing on his own. He and his mother were transported to a local hospital and expected to survive the ordeal.

Hudson began her career at EMSA in June 1992. Over the years, she's responded to tens of thousands of emergencies and has talked numerous callers through CPR, emergency childbirth, basic trauma management and other life-saving interventions. When not rescuing others, much of Hudson's time and energy is devoted to her own life battle. Hudson was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010 and continues an aggressive fight against the disease. While undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Hudson continues to work a full-time schedule as an EMSA dispatcher in the City of Tulsa's 911 Center.

"Mel keeps wits about her and maintains her cool in even the most challenging situations," says Hudson's longtime supervisor, EMSA Communications Manager Cathy Smith. "I've been honored to work alongside Mel for most of my career. The way she deals with challenges in the professional arena impresses me almost as much she inspires me through her personal life."

EMSA was established in 1978 as a public utility model and independent trust authority of the city of Tulsa. It expanded in 1990 to become a trust authority of the city of Oklahoma City and today serves more than 1.1 million residents in central and northeast Oklahoma.

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