Calif. cop saves minutes-old newborn with CPR

The officer arrived on scene to find a woman in a car alone with the baby to whom she'd just given birth

By Megan Cassidy
San Francisco Chronicle

OAKLAND, Calif. — A two-year officer for the Oakland Police Department saved a boy’s life at the beginning of his patrol shift by resuscitating a newborn no more than a few minutes old.

Officer Gregory Palomo performed CPR on the baby for about a minute before the infant began breathing again, he told reporters Wednesday. He credited his quick response to department training and watching his own children being born.

“All I could think was, I’m a father of two myself. … I just really needed to get that baby breathing,” Palomo said. “I couldn’t imagine if a parent had to lose their child at birth.”

Palomo was on patrol at 3:22 p.m. on Tuesday when police received reports of a woman crying and screaming for medical attention near Laney College at Sixth Street.

The officer arrived to find the woman holding a baby in the front seat of a car parked at a motel. The woman was alone with the baby, and it appeared she’d given birth prematurely, Palomo said, perhaps no more than five minutes before he arrived.

Palomo took the infant from the woman and began the life-saving procedures, first by clearing the airways with a finger sweep and then by gently patting between the boy’s shoulder blades to stimulate breathing.

“And, thankfully, it worked,” he said.

The officer then handed the baby back to his mother and instructed her to grab a blanket and hold the boy chest-to-chest to keep him warm. After a few moments Palomo noticed the infant had stopped crying and once again was having trouble breathing.

“I just basically took two fingers and rubbed the baby’s chest for stimulation,” he said.

The maneuver prompted the baby to start crying again, and he remained stable until paramedics arrived.

“I think she was pretty relieved,” Palomo said of the mother.

When asked what his wife thought about his actions, Palomo chuckled and said he got an “atta boy.” The officer had never before performed CPR on a real baby, he said, but Palomo added “there is no ‘typical’ (patrol day) for Oakland. It’s always different.”

Both the boy and mother were in good condition Wednesday and recovering at the hospital, authorities said.

Palomo was hailed as a hero by Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who was beaming Wednesday as she stood next to her officer.

“This is what Oakland does every single day, is really serve our community,” Kirkpatrick said. “But this is a superstar."

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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