OAKLAND — An Oakland police officer is being credited with saving the life of an baby boy, who he found not breathing after being prematurely born to his homeless mother Tuesday afternoon inside her car, officials said Wednesday,
Officer Gregory Palomo found the baby not breathing and turning blue about 3:22 p.m. Tuesday after police received a 911 call of a woman screaming and crying for medical aid in the street next to a car on Sixth Street near Laney College. It turned out the 22-year-old woman was living out of the car and had just given birth, police said.
Using techniques learned during his time in the police academy and in department refresher courses, Palomo held the child on his thigh, used his fingers to clear its airway before turning the boy over and giving him gentle hand blows between its shoulder blades before clearing the airway again with his fingers and then doing the hand blows a second time.
“I got the baby breathing,” Palomo could be heard saying over a police radio transmission.
After Palomo’s heroic efforts, which he said took about 45 seconds, the infant started crying and regained its normal color. He was given to the mother, and both were checked out by paramedics who had arrived before being taken to a hospital where both were recovering Wednesday.
Doctors told Palomo they believed the child was a few weeks premature and was probably a breech birth.
Palomo, 37, the father of a boy and girl whose births he both witnessed, said his “training instantly kicked in. I think I was pretty calm. It was pretty fresh in my mind from my own children being born.”
Palomo, who graduated from the police academy in May 2016, said it was the first time he has been in such a situation as a police officer and he does not consider himself a hero. “No, I was just happy to help. I can’t imagine a parent having to lose a child.”
Palomo’s supervisor, Sgt. Ann Pierce, expressed pride for what the officer did. “His training and quick actions saved this newborn’s life,” she said.
Oakland Police Chief Anne E. Kirkpatrick said “ I am proud of the work my officers do every day. This is just one example of the extraordinary work that is done.“
Non-breathing premature baby revived by Oakland police officer