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Baby-proof vest: Info Desk staff member helps with two births in one year

Toronto, May 14, 2017

By Kelly O’Brien

Angelo Tucci stands on the spot where he helped a woman who had delivered her baby in the front seat of her car
Angelo Tucci stands on the spot where he helped a woman who had delivered her baby in the front seat of her car. (Photo by Katie Cooper)

Angelo Tucci has worked at the St. Michael’s Information Desk for 15 years, and when he witnessed a baby being born in the Queen Street lobby, he thought he’d seen it all.

Little did he know that within a year, he would witness a second birth in nearly the same spot.

In early 2016, around 8:45 one night, Tucci was finishing his shift when he noticed a pregnant woman on the floor in the lobby. As he approached her he knew something was wrong.

“I asked her, ‘Are you okay? Did your water break?’ And she nodded, ‘Yes’,” he said.

He immediately called Obstetrics and Gynecology to send someone down. Then he grabbed a pair of gloves from behind the desk and waited, comforting the mom-to-be.

From there, he said, everything happened quickly. He and a resident who was passing by laid the woman down. Having nothing else to catch the baby in, Tucci offered his vest.

“You know that expression, a bouncing baby? They really do bounce. It bounced right into my vest,” he said.

The obstetrics team arrived shortly after, carrying mother and child—and his vest—away.

“As they were putting her on the stretcher, the father walked in,” Tucci said. “He had just dropped her off and gone to park the car across the street. It all happened that fast.”

   
Did you know?
There is an emergency button on the 15th floor so the obstetrics team doesn’t have to wait for the Cardinal-Carter elevators. But Dr. Howard Berger didn’t need it in this case—when he called the elevator, it was there immediately.

Tucci got his vest back, and said it was lucky he did. About a year later, he would need it again.

“The second time, it seemed like a movie,” he said.

In February 2017, a family had driven all the way from Oshawa, but before the mother could get out of the car, she had delivered the baby herself.

“I just helped lift the baby onto her belly, and then ran back inside to get someone to call a code,” said Tucci.

Obstetrician Dr. Howard Berger was on the receiving end of that call. He said babies have been born in all different areas of the hospital, but that no matter how or where a woman in labour arrives, staff are prepared to respond.

“We know this is a possibility, so we have the people in place to ensure mom and baby are safe,” Dr. Berger said. “But if a baby is born in the Second Cup, I think they should get free coffee for life.”

Tucci said he was in such shock that he never got the names of the families, but that he’s happy he was able to help.

“It was such a crazy experience, but I’m glad it happened. How many times do you get to see that if you’re not a father?”

He’s also glad he got the vest back.

“I told security, ‘Your vests are bulletproof, but mine is baby-proof.’”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Center, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.