Woman gives birth in the back of a taxi

Taxi driver Derek Naples. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Taxi driver Derek Naples. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A CABBIE found himself helping out as a baby girl was born in the back of his taxi during the frantic dash to the hospital.

Derek Naples, 53, was en route to collect a fare from the Slateford Road area on Friday when he was told his passenger had gone into labour.

All the windows were steamed up so I wound them down and she’s panting and hanging out of the window and screaming like mad.

Derek Naples

Picking up the woman and her partner, the father-of-two believed he had a good chance of reaching the maternity unit in time.

But he was forced to pull over five minutes from the hospital after the baby “popped out” following a short labour.

Derek said: “She was fine until we got to the King’s Buildings. Then I saw her in my mirror slipping down the back of the seat.

“She started the heavy breathing and she was on the floor on her knees. All the windows were steamed up so I wound them down and she’s panting and hanging out of the window and screaming like mad.

“At a set of traffic lights just before Cameron Toll I said to the man, ‘Get on the phone to the hospital to make sure someone is there to meet you’.

“But he couldn’t hear anything because she’s screaming like a banshee in the background.

“I said, ‘Tell them I’ll be at the maternity ward in five minutes’ but just before Cameron Toll the guy says ‘The head’s out! The head’s out!’”

Stopping the taxi close to the shopping centre, he went around to find that the baby was already out.

Her concerned parents scooped her up, swaddling her in the man’s T-shirt to keep her warm.

And when they arrived at the hospital minutes later, six nurses were waiting for them and even helped Derek to clean his cab.

The veteran cabbie, who has been a driver for the last 15 years, described the birth as the most stressful thing to happen to him at work.

Derek, who works for Central Taxis, was so shaken by the sudden arrival of a third passenger that he was unable to drive for the rest of the night and his wife had to call him a cab.

He added: “I was shaking. I couldn’t work and I couldn’t sleep that night.

“I was saying ‘I hope the baby is OK’ because a taxi is not the cleanest place to come into the world.”

He was so concerned that he phoned the hospital the following morning to learn that the baby was fine and visited her with a card later the same day.

A spokesman from Central Taxis said: “One of our drivers took our service ‘delivery’ to a new level. On his way to the Simpson maternity unit he had to pull over to the side of the road as his passenger couldn’t wait and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in the taxi. Both mother and child are doing great. Many congratulations from everyone at Central Taxis.”

This is not the first time a baby has been born close to the Cameron Toll shopping centre over the festive period.

Two years ago, overjoyed parents Julian Skinner and Nicola McDowall gave their baby the fitting middle name Cameron after he was delivered in the back seat of their silver Chevrolet.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com