As a doctor, expecting the unexpected is seemingly part of the job, regardless of the time or place. Florida native Dr. Javier Soto can certainly relate to that, after being approached at a gas station by a man seeking urgent assistance. Soto subsequently ran over to the car to discover an emergency unfolding inside the vehicle.
Dr. Soto has been a practicing obstetrician for 13 years and works at the Rockledge Regional Medical Center, just outside Merritt Island, Florida. On the evening of Friday December 8, 2017, he was en route to hospital to oversee an imminent birth when he stopped at a local Speedway gas station to fill up his car.
The 44-year-old was dressed in his regulation hospital gear while he stood at the pump. However, Soto’s plans for the evening suddenly took an unexpected, dramatic turn when a pickup truck pulled into the station. After parking up, a man jumped out in a frantic state, chattering away on his cellphone.
“Oh my God! What am I going to do?,” the man blurted into his cell, before spotting Soto in his scrubs by the gas pumps. “Are you a medical professional?,” the man asked after running over to the doctor. “I hesitantly said ‘yes,’” Soto told People in December 2017, as he wasn’t certain what exactly the emergency entailed.
Despite that initial reluctance, though, the 44-year-old followed the man back to the pickup, whereupon the emergency soon became abundantly clear. Yanking open the door, Soto was greeted by the sight of a woman in labor. Unable to reach the hospital in time, the driver of the pickup had pulled into the gas station to seek help.
With the top of the baby’s head already in view, Soto had to make a quickfire decision on what action to take. Should he wait for an ambulance or get on with delivering the baby himself? “I don’t know how the baby’s doing at this point,” he told People. “I thought it was better to deliver the baby.”
As he prepared himself for the delivery, Soto told the father-to-be to run into the station store and pick up a pair of gloves and some scissors. Meanwhile, the driver of the pickup was asked to give up the shoelaces from his sneakers. With the makeshift instruments in place, Soto began to talk the woman through the next step. His actions also caught the eye of the other customers at the station.
“It wasn’t just any doctor. It was the right doctor,” Ahmed Rasheed, who witnessed the event, told Florida Today. “He was just here pumping gas.” Despite the unusual setting, though, Soto continued on as normal, instructing the woman to push on her next contraction.
Following his instructions, the woman quickly gave birth to a baby boy on her next push, with the whole process only taking around four minutes in total. “Normally patients in the hospital push for an hour or two,” Soto informed People. “She has an angel watching over her, that’s for sure.”
“I was worried about the lady,” Rasheed told Florida Today, following the birth. “I used to panic when I would take my wife to the hospital. Imagine having a baby here. That’s the first time I’ve seen something like this.”
In the moments following the birth, Soto dried the baby boy and massaged him until he started crying. Next, the 44-year-old tied a shoelace to the umbilical cord, before cutting it with the scissors. “I was thinking, ‘Thank God everything came out fine,’” he admitted to People.
And, on a night filled with remarkable coincidences, another quickly became apparent. As it turned out, the woman had formerly been a patient of Soto’s. But following a routine checkup, she had been forced to switch clinics because of an insurance matter. Incredibly, though, the obstetrician ended up delivering her baby.
“It was kind of a godsend kind of thing,” Soto told News 6. “It’s just what I do on a daily basis, you know. It just doesn’t happen to be in a gas station.” However, despite a successful delivery, the doctor’s work wasn’t finished quite yet.
That’s because Soto needed to carry out a number of postnatal procedures on the new mom. To this end, he finished filling up his car, then proceeded to follow the ambulance taking the woman to hospital.
“It was funny at first,” Soto told Florida Today, “because what are the odds that I just happened to be here? It’s a very unusual coincidence that all of these things took place. It made me feel happy, and it made me feel glad that I was able to give them a hand.”
Soto discovered that the baby was full-term and was actually due to be born on December 10, 2017. However, in yet another coincidence, the baby arrived on the 12th anniversary of the doctor’s mother’s death. With that in mind, the 44-year-old believes his meeting with the desperate couple wasn’t just happenstance. Instead, he claims it was down to divine intervention.
“She’s the luckiest girl in the world,” Soto said of the baby’s mom. “God has a purpose for everything. He put me there for some reason.” Despite the evening’s drama, though, the doctor still had one more task to attend to after the birth.
Incredibly, Soto still needed to oversee the birth of his original patient’s baby. The lady had been waiting in hospital while the remarkable events at the gas station unfolded. “I then went to the other room,” Soto explained, “and delivered the other baby.”
The 44-year-old confirmed that the mother and her baby were “doing great” not long after the birth. Meanwhile, both parents were unsurprisingly “very thankful” for his sterling efforts in a challenging situation.
Most doctors will know to always expect the unexpected, regardless of time or place. For Dr. Javier Soto, one such situation took place during a simple trip to a gas station. Happily for all concerned, though, the result was a minor miracle.