Provided by Prince William County Communications Office
It was 6:21 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, when Afnan Abdelhafez, a call taker with the Prince William Department of Public Safety Communications, got a call from Interstate 66. She thought she would be taking a routine traffic call, but it was a little better than that. By 6:23 a.m., Abdelhafez had helped deliver a baby.
The call came from Brandon Taylor, who was in the car with his wife, Joan Taylor, who was in labor, and their three-year-old son, Theo. The family was traveling from Catlett on Interstate 66, on the way to Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax County when the baby crowned halfway into a 40-minute drive.
“It was really exciting,” Abdelhafez said of taking the call. “I just figured it was going to be a normal interstate highway call, but as soon as I heard, ‘My wife’s having a baby,’ I just wanted to make sure I got the location and make sure the medics got there as soon as possible…”
When the baby, Audrey Taylor, was delivered, Abdelhafez was concerned because she did not hear any crying, so she provided emergency medical instructions to Brandon to rub the bottom of Audrey’s foot.
“When the baby started crying, I knew it was all good,” Abdelhafez said.
Abdelhafez received a coveted stork pin for her quick thinking, presented to her by the County Executive Chris Shorter, Deputy County Executive Dan Alexander, Fire and Rescue Chief Tom LaBelle and Assistant Director for Systems for Public Safety Communications Jared Juliano. Stork pins come to emergency call takers when they help deliver babies. This was her second, which is remarkable because call takers can go an entire career without getting that kind of call.
Joan Taylor, who brought her daughter to meet Abdelhafez, said she was reassured during the call.
“She definitely helped keep us calm. Knowing that someone was there to help us and make sure that there were people on the way and make sure that everything was going to be OK was incredibly reassuring,” Taylor said of Abdelhafez.
Prince William County firefighters and emergency medical technicians arrived soon after the delivery. Taylor gave a shout out to Fire and Rescue Technician Richard Mitchell and Lt. Luke DeAtley.
“Technician Mitchell with the 522 crew did an amazing job with making sure that we were OK; and Lt. DeAtley took the time to go find my husband, bring him over and have him cut the cord so my husband could still have that moment before we were loaded up onto the medic truck,” Taylor said. “That was really, really important to us. The firefighters were all happy to be there, and it made it so that I knew that it wasn’t a scary, bad situation.”
Capt. Richie Scott climbed onto the backseat of Taylor’s car to comfort Theo.
“He made sure that my son was calm and OK. When it came time for me to get out of the car, he covered my son’s eyes so that way my son wouldn’t see anything,” Taylor said. “As I was getting into the ambulance, I was able to wave bye to my son. As a mother, that’s huge to me. I feel like that saved my son a lot of potential trauma.”
“This is my first time giving the stork award here in Prince William County,” said Prince William County Executive Chris Shorter. “Our 9-1-1 call takers are extraordinary in the face of emergencies and under pressure, and they are often the first response in times of crises. Bringing a new life into the world in a unique situation where the whole family is cared for, from the moment the call goes through until the family is safely at the hospital, shows true compassion and dedication. I want to thank Afnan and the rest of the team, as well as the Fire and Rescue crew, who truly exemplify Prince William County’s commitment to exceptional public service.”