Local gynecologist 'delivers' baby moose
If you are looking to get a half-million hits on the Internet, it's easy. Just save a baby moose from drowning. At least that has been the experience of Lehigh Valley gynecologist Dr. Karen Sciascia, whose rescue efforts while on a fishing trip in Montana went viral after being posted on a fishing guide company Facebook page.
Dr. Sciascia and guide Seth McLean were fishing in a row boat on Big Hole River when they spotted an adult moose struggling to cross the river against a very strong current. Sciascia owns a home in Montana, which she visits four or five times a year, so seeing a moose was nothing new, but she said the behavior of the animal seemed strange.
"She kept walking back and forth very agitated," so they rowed their boat toward her.
"We didn't see a baby until we got close; then we could see a nostril sticking out of the water."
When the boat approached, the mother became startled and bolted across the water and onto the shore.
"I couldn't just let the poor thing drown right there in front of me," Sciascia said, so she reached into the water and pulled the baby up by the scruff of her neck, then scooped her out of the water under her hind legs.
Meanwhile, McLean, a guide with the Four Rivers Fishing Co., used his cell phone to get a photo of the rescue, which his company later posted on Facebook.
Though only a day or two old by Sciascia's estimates, the youngster still weighed at least 25 pounds, so hauling her out of the water was no easy task.
"Thank God I weight lift and work out," she said.
With the baby safely resting on the doctor's lap, the guide rowed quickly back to the spot where the mother moose had last been seen. When the boat reached the shore, Sciascia got out and placed the calf on a sand bar.
"She didn't move, but she was crying like a puppy. Mom heard and popped her head out of the woods, so we went downstream as quickly as possible."
Looking back, they saw the mother cleaning the calf, and later walking back with her into the trees.
Sciascia said she wasn't surprised at what she had done. As a physician, she said she is trained to deal with emergencies.
"It's what we do. It was an automatic response. No stress."
What has surprised her, though, is the reaction of the public to the rescue. Sciascia says hits on her story on June 7 beat out the Kardashians on Google. Why does she think there was such a reaction?
"With so much bad news, this is a 'feel good' story with the emotion of a baby animal."
Whatever the reason, some reactions to the rescue have gone beyond just hitting on Facebook. One person from San Diego sent Sciascia a dozen roses, and another fan from Spokane, Wash,, sent along a Christmas Ornament.
So what's next? - a Hollywood movie or a television reality show or mini-series? Let's hope if that does happen they don't decide to call it "Deliver-ance."