As he tried to assist in the delivery of a newborn, Police Officer Joseph Fastige noticed the umbilical cord was wrapped around the child’s neck.
He was able to get his fingers around the cord and safely unwrapped it.
That quick-thinking - and perhaps life-saving - move was one of several Manchester police officers made when they delivered a newborn child last week, before the baby was treated at Community Medical Center.
Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Office of Public safety telecommunicator, Alia Hartman, a 9-year veteran, received an emergency 911 call at about 11:45 p.m. Thursday reporting that a woman on Amsterdam Avenue was in labor.
Hartman had never delivered a baby via emergency medical dispatch but knew the contractions were only one minute apart and the head was crowning. She instructed the family on what to do until Fastige, who was on patrol just a few blocks away, arrived on scene minutes later.
Along with the child’s father, Jason Roach, Fastige assisted with the delivery, which was completed within three minutes of police arrival. “Doctor 398 delivered the baby successfully,” an officer said over police radio transmissions moments after the birth, referring to Fastige by his police badge number.
Officer Patrick Mabie, a trained emergency medical technician, arrived on scene shortly after Officer Fastige and used his expertise to ensure the child’s airways were properly cleared. MONOC Paramedic’s and Manchester First Aid arrived on scene and administered first aid which include cutting the cord.
The mother, Dawn Roach, 31, and her newborn son, Jason O’Jon Roach II, were then transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River. Fastige later checked on the pair, who were both in good health. “It was a scary and awesome experience all the way around. It was something that you never think will happen, but sure enough, it did,” Fastige said.
Hartman said she wanted to thank the grandparents on scene for doing such a great job until the officer arrived. “I’m glad I was able to assist them in bringing a new life into the world. Being able to help people and make a difference is why I do this job,” she said.
Capt. Lisa Parker commended the efforts of everyone who worked together in a very stressful situation. “Though officers have basic training on child birth, it is uncommon they encounter this type of call over the course their career. We’re proud Officer Fastige was able to act quickly, taking control of the situation and ensuring a successful delivery. We wish the family all the best,” Parker said.