HGSS: Unsuspecting Tourist Gives Birth While Hiking Paklenica National Park

Katarina Anđelković

HGSS helping new mother
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July 31, 2023 – A 22-year-old foreign woman who did not know she was pregnant gave birth to a girl while hiking in Paklenica National Park. HGSS arrived about an hour later and transferred both to Zadar General Hospital. They are doing well.

A gynecologist and anesthesiologist, as part of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS), came to her aid about two hours after giving birth. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Adela Ušanović, was the first with the HGSS team to reach the new mother, followed an hour later by the gynecologist, Dr. Dora Perinčić, who, with her husband and her four-month-old baby, found herself in the HGSS house, an hour’s walk away. Dr. Perinčić, a resident at OB Pula, recalls that event and how her baby also accompanied the newborn back to the hospital from Paklenica.

“An incredible combination of circumstances, but we are all happy that everything ended well! The lady gave birth on her own in the toilet. Her family and a ranger were with her, and all went well because the pregnancy was without complications, and the birth ended up happening on its own”, Dr. Perinčić recounts her baptism of fire. She was the one to cut the umbilical cord two hours after the baby was born, writes 24Sata.

“The baby came out fine, head first, and everything went well. The girl is doing well, it seems she was born on time, somewhat smaller than average, but that was just my assessment”, said Dr. Perinčić. When asked how it was possible that the woman in labor did not know about the pregnancy, the doctor replied that there were such cases.

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“However, I would not go into evaluating this case; there are various possible reasons for such a phenomenon. It is possible that the woman did not have a bigger belly, maybe she had fewer symptoms; everything is possible”, said Dr. Perinčić. The doctor hiked up to the spot with her husband, Marko Rakovec, deputy head of the HGSS. They happened to be around in the HGSS house; the gynecologist is not a member of the HGSS. The anesthesiologist Dr. Ušanović, who was on duty in the medical team of HGSS, was the first to reach the woman in labor, and she is a member of HGSS Bjelovar. When she reached the woman an hour after the child’s birth, she just helped her deliver the placenta. The doctors did not have their equipment, but HGSS member Siniša Atlija went to get it from the ambulance at the foot of the hill.

“My husband and I went there with our baby an hour after the anesthesiologist, who was part of the duty team. Carrying our baby, we followed the mother and her little girl down. Our baby went with us because I’m still breastfeeding. We escorted the mother and the newborn to the Starigrad ambulance and then to the Zadar hospital”, Dr. Perinčić reported. They are both in good condition, the doctor recounted, laughing. She says it was not difficult for her to hike up with her husband and baby. It is a demanding trail, which takes over an hour of “slightly more difficult” walking.

“The mother was fine when I arrived, the baby too; I cut the umbilical cord under sterile conditions, according to the protocol, after the emergency department brought the equipment, which the HGSS member went down to get,” concluded Dr. Perinčić. She will no doubt remember the event forever.

Dr. Adela Ušanović says that, as an HGSS student and a doctor, she is used to stressful situations but has never encountered anything like this before.

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“We did everything as a team, all our members are medically trained to some extent, so it all went well. I happened to be in HGSS’s house on duty, which is lucky. We received a call on the official phone that there was someone up there who, we were told, was “not well, feeling sick” We had no idea that the lady was pregnant and giving birth. We headed up with the stretchers and the rest of the equipment. It took a little over an hour of hiking, and we arrived to see a woman who had just given birth alone in the toilet. The Park ranger and her family were with her”, recounts Dr. Ušanović.

“We took the baby and took care of her, called an ambulance to deliver medicine, infusion, and everything else that was needed, after which our colleague Atlija went down and brought it back to the top. We started the care she needed to compensate for her lost blood and monitored her condition. Our gynecologist colleague arrived next. We took the mother down on the stretcher, where the ambulance could reach us. As the vehicle did not have a doctor, my colleague and I got on board, and we took the child and mother to Zadar”, says Dr. Ušanović.


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