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Quick actions by Santa Clara police save life of newborn

Santa Clara police chief Lonnie Sandoval holds a newborn he helped keep warm before EMS responded to the scene.

Silver City Sun-News

SANTA CLARA – It’s not every day that police get dispatched to a call where a baby has just been born and for Santa Clara police chief Lonnie Sandoval and corporal Jaime Serrano, it was a first.

The fast-acting duo not only responded to a baby that had been born in a toilet but also helped keep the baby warm until EMS responded to take over. That quick action saved the baby’s life.

“We got a call and were advised that there was a baby being born in a house and in a bathroom in the toilet on Feb. 7,” Sandoval said. “We were told that the female had no idea she was pregnant and that the baby had come out in the bathroom.”

Sandoval’s initial response was to think that this wasn’t accurate information, but upon his arrival he quickly noticed that not only was it accurate, but it had just occurred.

“Myself and Corporal Serrano knocked on the door in the 500 block of Lincoln Street,” Sandoval said. “No one answered. We then announced ourselves and opened the door. We heard a female voice saying she was in the bathroom and that she had just had the baby in the toilet.”

Sandoval and Serrano assessed the scene and they found the baby laying on the couch in the living room. The chief immediately picked the baby up and checked for breathing and noticed that the umbilical cord was detached from the mother.

“While I was checking the baby to make sure she was alive, it began to cry,” Sandoval said. “I proceeded to try and keep her as warm as possible because the baby was very cold when I touched her. I cradled the baby close to my body and wrapped her in a towel.”

Corporal Serrano assessed the mother and made sure she was OK. After speaking with the mother, Serrano learned that she didn’t know she was pregnant and was using the bathroom and then noticed something wasn’t right and had the baby.

The wait for EMS seemed like a long time, even though it was a normal response, and Sandoval said sitting down and holding the baby and waiting for them to show up seemed like an eternity.

He said his father instincts took over after he got the baby and warmed her up. He knew how important it was to wipe the mucus from its face and mouth and knew the baby had to breathe.

“I immediately checked for all that and did what I had to do,” Sandoval said. “I realized the baby was OK and the baby latched onto my finger while I was talking to her and trying to reassure her that she was going to be OK.”

EMS arrived and transported the mother and baby to Gila Regional Medical Center. The baby was later flown out to a hospital in Albuquerque. Sandoval and Serrano learned the baby had flatlined while being transported but they were able to bring her back.

“Serrano took custody of the baby and handed it over to Children Youth and Families,” Sandoval said. “We were advised later that the baby tested positive for methamphetamine, THC and opiates. We learned that the baby was given the name Savannah by hospital personnel at Gila Regional … it’s currently in foster care.”

Sandoval said he was told their fast-actions helped save the baby’s life. He also said being a dad he can respect the feelings of those that are in trouble and waiting for EMS to arrive.

Quick actions by Santa Clara police save newborn’s life