NEW DELHI: Head constable Sanjeev Kumar was two hours short of wrapping up his night shift early on Sunday when around 5.30am his police control room (PCR) received a call from the Sabzi Mandi railway station. All he could hear over the poor connection was: “My wife is in pain… please take us to the hospital”.
With no time to lose, Kumar and his colleagues set out to help. Little did they know that the nerve-wracking, 20-minute ride would end with them playing mid-wife to 29-year-old Aarti, who delivered a healthy baby boy inside the PCR van.
“We had reached the gates of Hindu Rao Hospital, but before we could take the woman inside, she delivered the baby. It was overwhelming for all of us to be part of her family’s happiness,” Kumar said.
This is not an isolated case. According to Delhi Police data, 16 women gave birth inside PCR vans in the last six months. Most of them were leaving the city to travel to their hometowns for delivery but went into premature labour.
Such distress calls are regularly routed to PCR vans since panicked people dial 100 for police instead of 102 for an ambulance. The rising frequency of such cases has even prompted the Delhi Police to mull a specialised training programme for PCR personnel. “We have decided to train our PCR staff to administer basic first aid. Even if we do not encounter such cases, it will help some other person in distress,” said special commissioner of police (traffic) Sandeep Goel.
Once the initial panic and excitement subsides, the experience becomes a memorable one for the families too. Laxmibai, 35, who delivered one of her twin girls in a PCR van in September last says, “If it were not for the woman police officer who was accompanying us, my daughters and I would not have survived. One of my daughters was born inside the van while the other was born four minutes later inside the hospital.”
The specialised training to PCR officials would especially come in handy in cases where, stuck in traffic on way to the hospital, women are forced to deliver in public transport. According to police data, 23 women delivered babies in buses and auto-rickshaws in the city in last six months.