Bangkok might be renowned around the world for its culture and its nightlife, but Thailand’s capital city is also well-known for its traffic jams. The road gridlock can be an inconvenience for many travellers in Bangkok, but for pregnant women en route to hospital the last thing they need is a traffic jam. Step forward the Bangkok traffic police. The ‘boys in brown’ come in for plenty of criticism from locals and expats, but there are always two sides to a story.
Here’s a statistic that surprised me when I saw it earlier today; in the last 15 years Bangkok police have delivered 100 babies in the Thai capital’s traffic jams. Special maternity training was first introduced to select members of the traffic police in 1997. Earlier this week a fresh batch of traffic police received specialist midwifery training at a Bangkok hospital to enable them to deliver a baby in the car if the pregnant woman is unable to get to hospital in time. A proud senior police official said: “One of our officers has delivered 30 babies, which might be a world record. We have to check with Guinness.”
The man who has delivered those 30 babies is Police Senior Sergeant Phichet Wisetchote. Is the hardest thing trying to deliver a baby in such a confined space or is it the Bangkok heat and humidity? Neither of those according to PSS Phichet who said; “The hardest thing is trying to get rid of the spectators. Some people try to take pictures or videos of the baby delivery, which is a violation of the woman’s rights.”