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Rescued pregnant mom back home
“There is hope for T&T,” expectant father Akil Jackson said yesterday, as he showered praise on St Helena villagers, two Emergency Medical Technicians and a Guardian Media team for helping rescue his pregnant wife from flood waters on Wednesday.
His wife, Karma Jackson, 32, was trapped at their Constantine Road, El Carmen, St Helena home for over two hours waiting to be taken to a nearby ambulance. Karma, who is 40 weeks pregnant, became ill hours before a scheduled clinic visit in Port-of-Spain.
In a Facebook post, Jackson said, “A day in my life I will never forget. Waking up to my house surrounded by water like I’m living in a swamp. Having to wait for over two hours for an ambulance that couldn’t get to us with the massive floods. Then going to bed wit (sic) the woman I love so darely (sic) and waking up to our wedding anniversary. I have known u Karma Jackson for 12 years but today makes it 3 years and counting in our Union. Thank you...I LOVE YOU and we have many many more years of marriage to go.”
He posted a video of the flood around his home, footage taken by Guardian Media of the rescue mission, the two EMTs, Linford Lewis and Kerin Julien, as well as wedding photos to tell his love story.
After villagers carefully lifted the woman on the tray of a flatbed truck and took her out to the waiting ambulance, she was taken to the Mt Hope Women’s Hospital where she and the unborn baby were examined and monitored for almost 45 minutes before being discharged. She was at home “resting fine” yesterday and the expectant mother, whose due date is today, will be visiting the doctor again today.
“I just want to thank the two EMTs, the villagers, the driver who came in with the truck and the media for highlighting the situation,” Jackson said in a telephone interview yesterday.
He said the EMTs did “something extraordinary.”
“They are a shining example of goodness,” he said.
He singled out the unknown EHS dispatcher who stayed on the telephone with him until help arrived, noting she calmed him down and was advising him on what to do in the event he had to deliver the baby.
Jackson said he and his wife were overwhelmed by the love and compassion of his rescuers and touched by the many positive and comforting comments on social media after the story was posted on CNC3 News and Trinidad Guardian.
The story was shared hundreds of times and attracted scores of comments, most of which praised the efforts of the rescuers. Some commentators even suggested that the baby be named after Tropical Storm Bret.
Some social media commentators were critical of EMT Lewis for not jumping into the water to aid the patient. Lewis stayed on the truck and directed the villagers how to use the stretcher to aid the patient.
Lewis, in response to the criticism, said, “I was gonna jump into the water but then think about it...I would have to go home...1 ambulance less, and we need as much ambulances as possible...and the awesome bystanders who had on garden boots were more than willing to assist...so with proper guidance...we helped the lady in need...my boots getting wet didn’t matter to me...life over material items...it would dry but if the help is being offered to avoid me having to go home early and having 1 less ambulance crew...I am greatful (sic) for the help.”
Jackson recalled his wife began experiencing trouble breathing and contractions shortly after 7 am. He called the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management for help to get out as flood water swirled around his home. None came. Guardian Media also tried to get emergency help from the ODPM but that too did not materialise. The EMTs were unable to venture into the road as flood waters from an overspilled Caroni River rose to five-feet in some areas. Eventually, the help of Good Samaritans saved the day.
Asked to comment on the lack of response from the agency, Jackson said: “I don’t have much further to say about the ODPM. I needed assistance and could not get it. I can’t say anything good and I don’t want to say anything bad. I don’t know if they were busy dealing with other emergencies as the entire village of St Helena was under water.”
He added, “I am not looking for any apology. They did not even contact me after the story aired on television and printed in the newspaper. It would of been humanitarian thing to do. It would have been nice if someone from the ODPM could have called.
“I am thankful for the residents and happy (Guardian Media) was there to highlight the situation. People related to the situation. The act of kindness and bravery crossed racial barriers.”
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