Boca 911 dispatcher wins praise for talking new dad through delivery of his daughter
Story, photo by Dale M. King
BOCA RATON – Lila Drowos wanted to be born in a hurry.
She didn’t wait until her parents got to the hospital. She didn’t wait until paramedics arrived at her parents’ home. She didn’t even wait until her father finished a 911 call to a Boca Raton police dispatcher.
A minute and 12 seconds into the phone call between 911 dispatcher Lilibeth Vargas and Bryan Drowos, he ran in and caught the child while her mother, Joanna, sat in the bathroom.
“From what we read, it’s not supposed to happen like this,” said Bryan Drowos his past week at a ceremony honoring Vargas for staying cool, remaining calm and talking Bryan through the unexpected delivery.
Vargas, who stood in a crowd that included Police Chief Dan Alexander and Fire Chief Tom Wood, accepted awards from both departments. Also commended was Ron Devecki, the first of a total of seven paramedics who arrived and took over the delivery duties from Bryan.
Coincidentally, Joanna Drowos is, herself, a medical doctor who operates a family practice. She just didn’t expect to do the practicing on her own family. Lily is her first child.
During the ceremony at the City Hall Annex at 6500 Congress Ave., Lily remained quiet, resting in her dad’s arms. She is now about six weeks old. She was born in the early evening of Sept. 1.
Joanna told reporters that she had just gone to the doctor that day and was told the baby might be born in two weeks. Little Lily actually arrived about a month and a half before expected. The ceremony honoring Vargas took place around the time Lily was supposed to be born.
The new mom said her husband had just arrived home from work when she felt an urge to go to the bathroom. While sitting in the bathroom, Joanna said Lily started to come out.
Bryan called 911 and calmly explained his predicament. Lilibeth was equally calm, talking him through the procedure. Bryan told reporters Lily “just fell into my hands.”
The dispatcher then directed him to tie off the umbilical cord. On the 911 tape, he’s heard asking for a moment so he could use a lace that he had to remove from his running shoes.
Calm seemed to reign on the phone, though both parties said afterwards that they were nervous. At one point, Bryan dropped the phone as he ran to help his wife. He later put the call on speaker.
Lilibeth told Bryan to keep both mother and daughter warm, to wipe down the child and to expect paramedics in just moments.
Joanna and Bryan Drowos didn’t meet Lilibeth until the day of the ceremony. “It’s nice to now put a face to the voice,” said Bryan, “and really see who it was that helped us through a very interesting situation.”