On Monday morning, Sandra Kory of Nogales was at her family’s clothing store on Morley Avenue when she noticed that officers at the pedestrian border gate across the street had hoisted a woman onto a worktable.
“I ran and I told them, ‘I’m a doctor, can I help you?’” Kory said. “And they said, ‘Please, help us, she’s in labor!’”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Juan Osorio, at approximately 11 a.m., a man had approached the border crossing from the Mexican side with the woman in his arms. “This guy was carrying her over saying, ‘Hey, she’s in labor, she’s in labor,” Osorio said.
One of the officers on duty was an EMT (emergency medical technician) and realized the need to act fast.
“They laid her on one of those inspection tables,” Osorio said. “The baby was practically there already.”
Kory, a licensed physician in Mexico, said that when she arrived, she asked for a pair of gloves and went right to work. “There was no time to ask any questions: the baby was already halfway out,” she said.
In fact, things were happening so fast that she only had time to put on one glove, and it wasn’t even properly on. The next thing she knew, she said, she was staring at a healthy, breathing baby boy.
Osorio couldn’t release the woman’s name, though he said she’s a 19-year-old U.S. citizen. He also wasn’t certain of the identity of the man who carried her through the port of entry.
The delivery took place in an open area with only a roof overhead – the pedestrian crossing area has just one tiny enclosed structure, and it’s in the midst of a renovation. “There was no time to take her in anywhere,” Osorio said.
So Kory called for someone to bring sheets from the nearby store. “She was right out in the open, so I said, ‘Bring something to cover her up,’” she said.
Then she stayed with the woman and child as they waited for an ambulance to arrive and take them to the hospital – as well as deliver a crucial piece of equipment.
“They had the clips,” Kory said, “and we needed the clips to cut the umbilical cord.”
As a physician in Mexico, Kory has worked in some unique situations, she said. But Monday’s adventure was still one of a kind.
“I did deliver a lot of babies in Mexico, and in rural areas. But not in a circumstance like this,” she said. “This one is very special, believe me.”
For CBP, however, the delivery was just another one of the many duties its officers perform at U.S. ports of entry.
Osorio recalled helping deliver a baby on Labor Day, appropriately enough, while he was stationed at the Lukeville port of entry in 2002. And he said CBP officers in Douglas had a similar situation just a week ago.
“It’s more common than people know,” he said.