We deliver almost 3,000 babies a year at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals. If you have been on one of our Mother Babies units – you know that they are very well appointed with not only the latest technology but the highest level clinical skills available. Of course delivering in the unit is predicated on actually getting to the unit. That did not occur with one expectant mom in late January.
Sylvester (Sly) Brooks has worked on the night shift in housekeeping as a Floor Technician at Chippenham Hospital for nine years. He is one of the critical members of our team that makes our hospital literally shine. One night in January, he was buffing the floors in the Chippenham ER waiting room, a busy place that treats close to 100,000 patients a year. He and the other visitors in the waiting room heard a commotion coming from the parking deck. Someone was screaming, “help, help!” Sly ran outside to see what was happening only to find two people in a car – one of whom was a pregnant woman in great pain. There was no time to get anyone else. According to Sly, “the baby was halfway out.” Sly stepped up and helped out when he was needed most. He quickly reacted and put his hand under the baby’s head and placed a blanket under the baby. Within minutes the baby was delivered. Soon thereafter nurses and other providers came outside and rushed the mom and baby into the Emergency Room. The baby and mom did great.
I asked him to tell me what it was like to have such an extraordinary experience. He said, “I was very nervous. I had no idea that was going to happen. My instincts kicked in to do the best I could to do. The only reason I went was to help any way I could. When my first daughter was being born I fainted watching her be delivered. I didn’t watch my other 3 kids be born because I was afraid of doing that again. So at the moment I saw a stranger’s baby delivering I was very nervous and wanted to hold it together. I was just thinking about the mother and the baby.”
I asked him how this experience ranked to others in his life (assuming this would be at the top). He said it was the second most spectacular. Of course I had to follow up and learn what topped his list as #1. It turns out he has been a hero before. One day three years ago he jumped out of his car on Midlothian Turnpike because he saw a SUV with two young children and no adult pulling straight back onto the road from a convenience store parking lot. A 6 year old was at the wheel. Apparently, the children had been left in the car and were able to switch the car into gear, causing it to move backward on the busy road. Sly saw the boy screaming out the window so he quickly moved his car to block the moving car, jumped out, ran to the driver’s side, and pushed the car into park as it went across the median strip.
This week, I brought Sly to the CJW Board of Trustees’ meeting to be recognized for his heroic acts. His final words during out interview were, “I do whatever I need to do to make the company better. I am all about teamwork. Anything I can do – I am there.” So if you see Sly working the night shift buffing floors, please stop him and thank him for stepping up when he was needed most.