MERRITT ISLAND — In a scene that could have been straight out of a movie, a man flagged downed another driver at a Merritt Island gas station to help a woman in labor. The driver tapped for assistance was—as luck would have it—a 13-year OB-GYN.
Dr. Javier Soto, 44, pulled into the Speedway station at 6:30 p.m. on Friday when a frantic man stopped him and informed him that his fiancée was giving birth in the back seat of their pick-up truck.
The father-to-be—whose truck was being driven by a friend ferrying the pair to Rockledge Regional Medical Center when they ran out of time—noticed that Soto was wearing blue medical scrubs and seized his opportunity.
“Are you a medical professional?” he asked of Soto.
“I hesitantly said ‘yes,’” the doctor recounted, concerned over just how severe of a medical situation he was about to run into. As it happened, it was one he was all too familiar with.
Soto ran over to the pick-up where he discovered a pregnant woman with the crown of her baby’s head showing—one of his medical specialties! Adding to the overall coincidence, Soto also found that he recognized the mother: She was a previous patient of his who had changed doctors due to an insurance issue.
“I could wait for the ambulance or deliver the baby,” Soto says of his options. “I don’t know how the baby’s doing at this point. I thought it was better to deliver the baby.”
Thinking quickly, the doctor improvised an operating room for himself, sending the father into the convenience store portion of the Speedway to obtain scissors and gloves. From the pair’s friend and driver, he solicited shoelaces.
Pulling on a pair of gloves intended for the preparation of food, Soto instructed the mother to push with her next contraction. Shortly thereafter, her young son was born.
“Normally patients in the hospital push for an hour or two,” Soto said, noting with surprise how fast the delivery had been. From start to finish, it only took about four minutes once the doctor got involved.
Soto dried and checked the crying baby, then tied the umbilical cord using the friend’s shoelaces before cutting it with the Speedway scissors.
“I was thinking, ‘Thank God everything came out fine,’” Soto relayed.
The family took an ambulance to the hospital, and Soto—the interruption behind him—got back to pumping his gas. He then visited the hospital himself to check on mom and baby. He was happy to declare that they were “doing great.”
“She’s the luckiest girl in the world,” Soto went on to say of the mother. “God has a purpose for everything. He put me there for some reason.”
One would think the unflappable doctor would be ready to call it a night at that point, but as it happened, Soto’s work wasn’t done.
“I then went to the other room,” he said, “and delivered the other baby.”