"Miracle" baby reunited with lifesaving paramedic years on

Steve Salter patient meet up

A case of mistaken identity led to a surprise reunion for paramedic Steve Salter and a child he delivered in an extremely challenging birth seven years ago.

Steve and crewmate Tony Chittick were called to a patient in the final stages of labour around 3am on 16th February 2008 and were on hand to deliver tiny Ellen Louise Finn – born 12 weeks premature in a complicated and difficult breech birth.

Ellen’s mum Rebecca Finch says her daughter would not be here today had it not been for Steve.

“He saved Ellen’s life,” said Rebecca, 34, from Blackmore near Chelmsford. “It was a breech birth and once Ellen’s shoulders had passed the labour stopped. Her neck was being broken.” 

Rebecca said that Steve’s decisive and quick actions made all the difference: “In his training Steve had been taught a way to restart the contractions but he never thought he’d have to use it. He just knew what he had to do.”    

The unexpected meet up came about after Rebecca, a personal assistant, thought she recognised the paramedic during a recent visit to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. The man in greens that Rebecca approached wasn’t Steve but thankfully the lookalike lifesaver was able to put the pair in touch. 

Rebecca, who also has a son Jack, 11, said Steve’s actions will never be forgotten by her and partner, James Finn. She said Steve and Ellen have a special bond: “It was the first time Steve has seen Ellen since he saved her life. It was strange really but she really liked it. Ellen has never really wanted to talk about her birth before and always told me to shush when it came up. 

“Since meeting Steve all she has wanted to do is talk about it. After all the jobs he has done over the years he still remembers her. I think it makes her feel that she is special to Steve because he did something special in his job.” 

Steve, who lives in Braintree and works in Notley, said: “When I saw Ellen it was quite strange but quite special. She is really intelligent and she’s bright as a button. It was lovely to meet her after all these years. 

The paramedic has delivered several babies but he vividly remembers Ellen’s birth: “It definitely stands out. There was no midwife as it was three in the morning and I remember delivering the baby then keeping her warm. Although she was premature her breathing was good. It sounds odd but I recognised her eyes. It was nice to see that seven years on she was doing so well. Often you leave patients and never see them again.” 

Loughton emergency medical technician Tony Chittick, who supported Steve at the birth, said: “It was a miracle birth. We turned up to a nightmare scenario with lots of screaming and shouting and panic in the middle of the night. It looked like we were in the process of delivering a stillborn baby which was massively premature.” 

Tony, who lives in Epping and has been with the Trust for 20 years, added: “We didn’t expect the baby to survive. It was one of those that massively went against the grain and was a positive outcome. I had never worked with Steve before but it obviously worked out well that night. I heard later that the baby had survived so I’m really happy that the outcome was so successful.”

Published 19th March 2015 

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