Emergency Delivery: Dad uses pocketknife to save newborn facing rare complications

birth pocketknife hero

Forced to attempt an emergency delivery alongside a remote stretch of highway in Northeastern British Columbia, the last thing that Caitlin Vince and her partner Tyler Olsen needed was a rare birth complication.  Luckily, Olsen’s pocketknife and steady hands allowed the couple to deliver their new son, Augustus Olsen, safely into the world.

“I knew we weren’t gonna make it”

The couple lives in Hudson’s Hope, B.C., over 50 miles from the nearest hospital.  When Caitlin went into labor, they had only made it halfway to the hospital before her contractions became too strong.  “I knew we weren’t gonna make it,” she told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.  Vince recalls that she barely made it out of the car and onto the ground before the baby arrived.

So rare even obstetricians hardly ever see it

Unfortunately, the delivery didn’t end there – newborn Gus was born en caul, completely encased in fluid within his amniotic sac.  Occurring in less than 1 in 80,000 births, it’s rare enough that even obstetricians hardly ever see it.  In a hospital, it would have been relatively simple for a physician to remove Gus from his amniotic sac.  But on a remote highway, without any medical training, Tyler Olsen instinctively used his pocketknife to cut the ‘caul’ to free his newborn son.

Clean bill of health

Paramedics arrived on scene 25 minutes after the birth and took the couple to the hospital, where Gus was weighed in at eight pounds, two ounces, and given a clean bill of health.  Traditionally, a baby born ‘en caul’ is a sign of good luck – it was certainly lucky for Gus that his dad was carrying a pocketknife.

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