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Family helps celebrate lifesaving actions of EMS personnel
Shelley Fields
Paramedic Shelley Fields (front) and EMT-I Chris Boyd of Effingham County Emergency Medical Services hold William and Benjamin Frazier, respectively, at the Effingham County Administrative Complex on May 18. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
I want to take an opportunity like this to present some of our greatest examples of what our employees provide the public.
County Manager Tim Callanan

  SPRINGFIELD  — There were no smiles the first time they met. There were only looks of deep concern.  

Rebekah Frazier was lying in a bathtub in the middle of giving birth to premature twins when Paramedic Shelley Fields and EMT-I Chris Boyd of Effingham County EMS found her in her Guyton home. Frazier’s boys arrived three months ahead of schedule on Oct. 20, 2019, weighing less than two pounds each.

The first baby (William) was born in the dry tub just before Fields and Boyd got to the scene. He was motionless, blue and wrapped in a towel. 

An examination of the mother revealed that the second baby (Benjamin) was breeched, with his legs and abdomen delivered, and his upper torso, arms and head still inside the birth canal. The umbilical cord of William, who required CPR, was still inside, too.

Use of a cardiac monitor was alternated between the boys as they were raced to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. 

Fortunately, there were no signs of the drama that ensued that day when Frazier; her husband, Matthew; and their boys met Fields and Boyd again. They reunited at a May 18 Effingham County Board of Commissioners meeting at the Effingham County Administrative Complex.

With the Fraziers watching as “very special guests,” the board honored Fields and Boyd for winning the 2020 Dr. Joseph E. Simon Pediatric Award of Excellence thanks to their lifesaving work on William and Benjamin. The award is presented by the Georgia Emergency Medical Services Association.

“I want to take an opportunity like this to present some of our greatest examples of what our employees provide the public,” County Manager Tim Callanan said after recounting the story of the problematic births.

Smiles abounded, especially on the faces of Fields and Boyd, as Callanan continued. 

He said, “So often, you get caught up with COVID and everything that is going on with the risks you are taking there that you miss these stories and, with that, I want to thank them very much on behalf of the citizens of Effingham County for their incredible work.”

Previously, Dr. Brad Buckler, medical director of the neonatal intensive care nurseries at Memorial, said, “The care that the EMTs provided allowed the babies to arrive at the hospital, giving them a chance to survive. Without the resuscitation care provided, the babies probably would not have survived prior to arrival at the hospital.”

Mrs. Frazier was released from Memorial just a few days after giving birth. The boys, however, were kept for 131 days.

“We got out February 28 and a couple days after that COVID-19 shut the world down,” she said.

“It kind of worked out,” Mr. Frazier added. “(The boys) didn’t need to be around anyone anyway.”

The twins were kept on oxygen for an extended period after going home.

“We are obviously off oxygen,” their mother said. “So far, we have received flying colors from all our doctors.”

The thriving boys are extremely rambunctious and further along in size than most babies their age, Mrs. Frazier said.

Initially, there were some worries about the boys’ hearts.

“Their heart doctor is not concerned like he was at the beginning because, obviously, it’s not affecting their growth,” Mrs. Frazier said. “We go to physical therapy and occupational therapy but, really, besides not knowing that they were born so premature, we are just lacking our growth motor skills right now. We feed ourselves and we are on whole milk.

“We are doing everything that (a typical) 18-month-old (child) is doing.”

The boys are getting close to taking another big step.

“Both were born with grade 4 brain bleeds,” Mrs. Frazier said. “They’ve got little reservoirs in their heads. Our neurosurgeon has cleared them.

“We are just waiting for them to get a little bit bigger before we take them out.”