ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Dr. David Kroska wasn't looking to put any storks out of business, but he gave them some serious competition when he recently delivered more than a dozen babies while on call.
The board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with CentraCare Clinic delivered 13 babies - a personal record - in a 24-hour period that ended Friday the 13th.
"They just came in the door - spontaneous labor," said Kroska, medical director of the L.I.F.E. program at CentraCare Clinic. "They were all single babies; they weren't twins or triplets."
The lineup included two cesarean section deliveries.
Kroska said he had no inkling that it was going to be busy when he was working at St. Cloud Hospital, also a CentraCare Health facility. He has been practicing medicine for 32 years.
"They just came one after another in kind of a nonstop; I had a very, very busy night," Kroska said.
"It was kind of a blur almost - work all night, not sleeping - but I had some catnaps, maybe 15 minutes here and there to refresh myself," he said.
Kroska studied at the University of Minnesota Medical School and did his residency at Miami Valley Hospital, but nothing really prepares a person for the sheer number of deliveries.
"Every now and then, you get what's called a 'doubleheader,' and that's when the babies kind of come at the same time, so you have to juggle what you're doing to be there for them," he said.
Kroska began his 24-hour shift at 8 a.m. Sept. 12 and delivered the first baby about an hour later. However, he almost ended up delivering 14 babies when it was all said and done.
"We had one situation in the middle of the night where in fact we had a senior resident that was working with me - a delivery occurred at 1:04 a.m. and 1:05 a.m. - and I delivered one of them, and he delivered the other one," he said.
Kroska summed up the frenzy as a "nonstop event ... that happened all at once." It was only later that he realized he had bested his own personal record from years ago of 10 deliveries in a 24-hour period.
"We have a group of 12 OB/GYNs at CentraCare and have that many patients in our patient pool, so it's possible to get a busy day ... but it was an unusual event," he said of the 13 babies. "And it's still fun after all these years."
Kroska said there is no friendly, informal competition among local physicians that he is aware of to deliver the most babies in a given period.
"I have not heard of any of my partners ever say that they've had that many deliveries, and I'm not sure it's an all-time record anywhere," he said. "But it's such a privilege and truly an honor to be part of these babies' and parents' lives."
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