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Dispatcher helps with 'delivery' stuck in traffic

| Friday, Jan. 24, 2003, 12:00 p.m.

Frantic calls are routine for city 911 dispatcher Judy Blahut. But a caller usually isn't stuck in traffic with his wife about to give birth.

Blahut helped to talk a Shaler Township couple through the delivery of their son as the new parents sat in their car in Thursday evening rush-hour traffic along East Ohio Street near the 31st Street Bridge on the North Side.

Irene Ahearn, 37, and her son, Billal Hamed, were in fair condition at Mercy Hospital, Uptown, hospital spokeswoman Linda Ross said.

"I was kinda scared. It was my first one," said Blahut, who has no children. All 911 dispatchers are trained for these situations and have a protocol to follow, she said.

The baby's father, a fourth-year resident at Mercy who does not specialize in obstetrics, called 911 at 5:53 p.m. saying he was on his way to the hospital, but the baby wouldn't wait.

"He seemed kinda frantic, and I could hear the woman screaming in the background," Blahut said. "I talked to them, trying to keep them calm."

The couple pulled off to the side of the road, and dad delivered the baby at 6:02 p.m. as his wife sat in the front seat. Police and paramedics arrived and took mom and newborn, still attached by the umbilical cord, to the hospital.

Billal, who was due today, weighs 7 pounds, 12 ounces and is 19 1 / 2 inches long, Ross said.

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