Fort Campbell Solider helps woman deliver baby

Military spouse Mercedes Simons formally introduces her newborn daughter Evelyn to Combat Medic Specialist Spc. John McDaniel, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division – “Blue Spaders”. McDaniel first met baby Evelyn when he assisted in her delivery in the parking lot of Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the morning prior. The Simons family was on their way to the hospital when mom’s water broke and the baby was born in the front seat of the family car. U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager.

FORT CAMPBELL, KY (WSMV) - A soldier at Fort Campbell helped a woman give birth to her newborn baby in her car last month.

Mercedes Simons, who was eight and a half months pregnant, was at her family's off-post home. Simons said she began to experience pain from her contractions in a Blanchfield Army Community Hospital parking lot. She initially thought that it was typical pain that women experience during pregnancy, and she sent her husband, Sgt. Keenan Simons, to the store to get a pain reliever.

However, the pain worsened once he left. And when he returned, Keenan, Mercedes, and her five-year-old son Micah rushed to the army hospital.

"I was just screaming, and Keenan was trying to comfort me and get us to the hospital as quickly as possible," Mercedes said when describing the car ride.

As her pain intensified, Mercedes felt the baby's head beginning to crown. She and her family were still 10 minutes away from the hospital, and she felt like her baby was about to be born.

Combat Medic Specialist Spc. John McDaniel noticed a car speeding in the hospital's parking lot and stopping outside the C entrance. McDaniel heard Keenan yelling from their car and immediately rushed to help.

"The dad unlocked the car door, and when I opened it, I saw that the mom was giving birth in the car," said McDaniel. "The husband was huddled over the wife, and when I looked down, all I saw was the baby's head was crowning."

McDaniel's medical training kicked in quickly.

"During our [emergency medical technician] phase, we learned about birth, [and] what's wrong with a baby, like breech pregnancies," McDaniel said. "And so, I noticed when I first came on the scene that the baby was coming out naturally, normally."

Knowing there was little time to move Mercedes, McDaniel helped Keenan position her as the baby came out.

"The baby came out really naturally," said McDaniel, who stayed with Keenan and comforted him. "The dad is the one who caught her. I helped the mother and the dad the best I could, and then I ran to the ER for help."

Nurse Pamela Paquet saw McDaniel enter the hospital after she had just finished discharging a patient. She and nurse Jennifer Chappell rushed to the parked car to help.

"I thought the patient was in the ER parking lot," said Paquet. "But when she saw McDaniel continue running past the ER parking lot, she yelled to Chappell to get a wheelchair and picked up her pace as she followed the Soldier around the building.

"We made it to the car where dad was in the driver seat, holding the baby over the mother with the umbilical cord still attached," she added.

With the baby safely delivered, Keenan thanked McDaniel for his heroic actions.

"I was able to talk to the dad for a minute after he got the mom escorted away. He just kept saying thank you, thank you, and hugged me," McDaniel said.

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