In a flood, you take your chances 2 expectant moms opt for a boat ride

August 02, 1993|By Kansas City Star

LEXINGTON, Mo. -- Expectant mothers Cindy Taber and Heather Thompson each chanced a 15-minute boat ride over flooded farm fields instead of a two-hour ambulance trip to a hospital. Mothers and babies are fine.

Ms. Taber lives outside Richmond, north of the Missouri River. Her doctor, William Hamilton, practices in Lexington, south of the river.

Normally, the trip takes a few minutes. But because of flooding detours, it now takes up to two hours.

Ms. Taber's contractions began July 25 as she prepared for church. Ray County Memorial Hospital in Richmond doesn't have obstetric facilities, but Ms. Taber went there to be examined.

"Some of the nurses were starting to prepare me to deliver there," Ms. Taber said Friday. "They had Dr. Hamilton on the phone. He said, 'No, I want you at Lafayette [Regional Health Center in Lexington].' "

As attendants were about to load Ms. Taber into an ambulance, a paramedic mentioned someone with a boat who could take the family across flooded fields to the Lexington Bridge on Missouri Route 13.

"I said, 'We'll take the boat,' " Ms. Taber recalled. Minutes later, Ms. Taber, her husband, two children, two paramedics, the boat owner and a helmsman were skimming over the calm waters in a johnboat.

"The kids had a great time," Ms. Taber said. "They were upset they didn't have their fishing tackle."

An ambulance crew met the boat at the north end of the bridge and whisked Ms. Taber to Lafayette Regional Health Center.

A few hours later, Brandon Eugene Taber weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces.

The scenario repeated itself late Wednesday. This time the expectant mother was Ms. Thompson, who lives in Orrick, another flooded town north of the Missouri River.

Her doctor, Manit Vajaranant also practices in Lexington.

Ms. Thompson also visited Ray County Memorial Hospital before opting for the boat ride.

"She decided to come by boat because it was much faster," Dr. Vajaranant said Friday. "She thought she wouldn't make it if she drove around."

There was one difference. This time the ambulance wasn't allowed on the bridge. Attendants put Ms. Thompson on a gurney and wheeled her across, roughly a half mile.

About two hours later, 8-pound, 3-ounce Dalton Holloway was born.

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