SINGAPORE: He has earned praise for his quick-thinking and calm handling of a sudden delivery of a baby in his cab, but SMRT taxi driver Mohamad Nazaruddin said it was merely "instinct" which helped him stay on top of the situation.
On Monday (Jan 30), the 39-year-old Mr Mohamad received a taxi booking by Madam Ma.elena del Rosario Ortiz and her husband, who were hoping to get to the National University Hospital (NUH) for a check-up.
When Mr Mohamad picked the couple up from their home, he realised Madam Ma.elena was heavily pregnant and was in a bit of pain.
"Their intended destination was NUH. I told myself that I should take the Seletar Expressway (SLE) and Central Expressway (CTE) route because along the way, there are a few hospitals - like Tan Tock Seng (Hospital) and Khoo Teck Puat (Hospital), in case something happens," he told Channel NewsAsia.
While he was approaching the Thomson Road exit, Mr Mohamad realised Madam Ma.elena's pain had escalated after taking a peek in the rear-view mirror. "She could see the baby's head was already out, and she asked her husband to support the baby. Few moments later, with one push, the baby was out from her tummy," he recounted. "It was a very smooth delivery."
Madam Ma.elena's husband then turned to Mr Mohamad for advice on what to do.
"I told him to ensure the baby is responding, ensure that the liquid from the water bag and the blood does not enter the (baby's) mouth as it might endanger the baby; ensure that the umbilical cord does not entangle the baby's neck," said the father of two, who observed the deliveries of both his children. "(It was) more or less instinct."
Madam Ma.elena del Rosario Ortiz with her newborn. (Photo: SMRT/Facebook)
Eventually, Mr Mohamad asked the couple if they would like to be taken to the nearest hospital, Mount Alvernia, and they agreed.
Mr Mohamad said it never crossed his mind to panic. "I had to ensure that this passenger gets to the nearest hospital, at the soonest (moment). It's about life and death," he said. "If I panic, I'm sure the situation would be worse. I just told myself to relax."
After Madam Ma.elena's family alighted, Mr Mohamad said he got in touch with the company's contact centre as he wanted to waive the taxi fare as a "little token" from him to the family. "From there we kept in touch about the baby, and thank God that the baby is in good health," he said.
Mr Mohamad, who has been a taxi driver with SMRT for two years, said while "every day has its own challenges", he never imagined something like this would happen in his vehicle.
"I hope the baby is in good health, and (will be) happy always. And all the best to the couple, hopefully we can keep in touch!" he said.