Paramedics Save 9-Month-Old Unborn Baby After Mother Tragically Shot Dead

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 5, 2013   |   11:07AM   |   Detroit, MI

Taeler Shaltry became the fatal victim of a shooting in Detroit over the weekend, but the story of her death ended on an extraordinary note as paramedics were able to save her nine-month-old unborn child.

The random shooting tragically claimed the lives of two people and injured another. But, when paramedic Daniel Walinsky arrived on the scene, he found another person victimized by the attack, Taeler’s unborn child. The Detroit News has more on this fascinating rescue.

Not until he and his crew moved a man’s body from the top of the heap did they realize the woman underneath was pregnant. They knew they had to act quickly to keep the fetus alive.

“I don’t know how far along she is, or say whether the baby will survive; I let the doctors make that call,” said Walinsky, who was among a handful of first responders who were called to the scene Sunday.

When paramedics arrived, Shaltry, nine months pregnant, was dead, but that didn’t mean the baby had to die. Walinsky said the crew knew they had to get oxygen to the baby by giving oxygen to the mother. Oxygen could still circulate to the baby through the umbilical chord, Walinsky said.

They worked quickly to get Shaltry to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where the baby girl was delivered by Caesarean section. The mother was in the operating room 30 minutes after the shooting, Walinsky said. The first hour following a trauma is known in the medical community as the “golden hour,” he said. Hospital officials said if a patient makes it to the operating room in under an hour, his or her chances for survival are relatively high.

“Babies are very resilient,” Walinsky said. “I’ve seen women killed in car accidents and the babies survive.”

Shaltry has two other children, said Brittany Webb, a relative of Brandon Webb. On Friday, Shaltry had posted on her Facebook page about how excited she was to be close to delivering her baby.

“Yay its finally Nov I have 2 more weeks until my expected due date I can’t wait I’m really excited!!!!” Then, after a dozing smiley face emoticon, she wrote: “feeling tired.”

For Walinsky, saving the baby was a team effort, just like the hundreds of other times he’s delivered babies during his more than two decades on the job. He said two women were on his crew on Sunday. Women, he said, tend to have a stronger attachment to female patients or to children. But, he doesn’t like to dwell on the tragedies he’s seen. Instead he tries to focus on the positive.



“If there was one glimmer of hope it’s that the baby was not shot,” Walinsky said about Sunday’s incident. “It’s just sad that the baby will grow up without a mother.”

This kind of amazing story has happened before.

Doctors in Illinois in 2011 were able to save the unborn child of a young woman who was tragically killed in a shooting on the south side of Chicago.

The teen girl, 17-year-old Charinez Jefferson, begged the shooter to spare her life because she was pregnant, but the 18-year-old accused of taking her life and then shooting her again after she was killed, refused. This is one of many cases of violence against pregnant women that come up frequently in state after state across the nation.