It’s a Boy! HackensackUMC Nurses Deliver Baby in Parking Garage

January 22, 2016


Selis and Mustafa Tavsancil, of Edgewater, have nurses Christine Zweil, and Denise DeSalvo to thank for helping them deliver their son, Aksel Onur, in the parking garage at HackensackUMC.

They say timing is everything.  Selis and Mustafa Tavsancil, of Edgewater, can tell you first-hand how important it is to have the right help precisely when it matters most. Selis began having contractions in the early morning hours on Thursday, January 21. Around 7 a.m., the Tavsancils arrived in the parking garage of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital at HackensackUMC to meet obstetrician, Ulas Bozdogan, M.D., to deliver their baby.  As the couple parked, Selis realized the baby was well on his way.  They started to walk toward the elevators when Selis told her husband she wasn’t able to walk any further.

“She just stopped and said she was in too much pain,” said Mustafa Tavsancil. “She told me the baby is coming. I can feel his head.”

About that time Denise DeSalvo, RN, a supervisor in the Pediatric Operating Room at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, just arrived for her shift and was walking to the elevators when she noticed the couple.

“The woman was crying and the husband was rubbing her back trying to comfort her,” said Denise, who has worked at HackensackUMC for 21 years.  “I asked if she needed help and she said yes – then I noticed she was pregnant. I told her I will get you to where you need to go. I then called Security and asked for a wheelchair.  While I was on the phone, the woman let out this cry and I asked her is this happening now? And, she said ‘yes.’”

About that time, Denise noticed someone walk around the corner. Christine Zweil, RN, works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital.  Though the two women never met before, Denise called out to Christine for assistance. “I said you’re NICU, I’m PEDS, this is happening now. We have got to do this,” said Denise.

“There was no time,” said Christine, who has worked for HackensackUMC for 17 years.  “The water broke and within seconds the baby started to crown and out he came.”

As Selis was standing, the baby boy was born and Christine caught him.  She held the baby until help arrived and the umbilical cord could be cut.  The nurses wrapped the baby in the parent’s clothing to keep him warm.

“Thankfully we had Security there,” said Christine. “They were able to contact the appropriate units and arrived very quickly to the exact spot in the garage where we were with all of the equipment we needed.”

“It was amazing, the child was out,” said Mustafa.  An entire team came running. “There were 15  or 16 people running towards us. They were organized and everyone was doing something.”

Both Christine and Denise usually don’t play a role in the birth of children.  In fact, it was the first delivery for both nurses. But, they relied on their training and experience.

“We are so proud of the heroic actions taken by Christine and Denise who didn’t hesitate for a moment to help someone they saw in distress,” said Dianne A.M. Aroh, MS, RN, NEA-BC , executive vice president, chief patient care and clinical officer, HackensackUMC.  “I am very happy to report that mother and baby are doing very well.  Our nursing staff is second to none and it’s because of team members like Christine and Denise, who exemplify what nursing is all about.”

After the remarkable delivery, Christine and Denise went to work as usual.  Mustafa and Selis are now celebrating the unusual birth of their son, Aksel Onur Tavsancil, who is perfect in every way, weighing six pounds nine ounces and measuring 19 inches long.  The parents are forever grateful for the efforts of the two nurses.

“Maybe if I was alone in the parking lot, I would not have been able to catch the baby.  I was in shock.  With this way, we now have a story and it will be remembered always,” said the new father.

Selis and Mustafa Tavsancil, of Edgewater, have nurses Christine Zweil, and Denise DeSalvo to thank for helping them deliver their son, Aksel Onur, in the parking garage at HackensackUMC. From left to right: Christine Zweil, RN, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital;  Mustafa Tavsancil, father; Selis Tavsancil, mother; Aksel Onur Tavsancil; and Denise DeSalvo, RN, supervisor, Pediatric Operating Room.

About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a 775- bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is the flagship hospital of Hackensack University Health Network, one of the largest health networks in the state comprised of 1,717 beds, more than 10,000 team members and 3,300 credentialed physicians. HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. HackensackUMC is the only hospital in New Jersey, New York and New England to be named one of Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals™ nine consecutive years, and receive the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™ 13 years in a row. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 24 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. HackensackUMC has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. HackensackUMC is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Barclays PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more, visit: