A Doctor On Board?
"We have a
woman in labor. Is there a physician aboard?" said the announcement
aboard a recent TWA flight minutes out of Kennedy, headings
for Orlando, reports People Weekly. Estimates are that "blessed"
events occur in the clouds over the U.S. several times a year.
A 35-year-old, 6-month
pregnant woman was having contractions. She had called her
obstetrician shortly before the flight and complained of "indigestion
and a little pressure." He reassured her that it was probably
false labor, as she had with her previous pregnancy, and that
she should proceed with her trip.
soon after take-off. She called the flight attendant who sized
up the situation, cleared a five-seat row, placed the woman
on her back, and made the announcement.
An internist responded.
He was heading to Disneyworld with his wife and three children.
He had delivered one baby before, thirteen years earlier.
"My adrenaline was flowing at a hundred miles an hour," he
recalls. "At first I thought it was false labor. But then
she started bleeding. I took another look and saw the head
starting to crown, and I said, "This lady is having this baby
The cabin attendants
scurried to get blankets. The captain radioed Dulles (Washington)
90 miles away, for an emergency landing and standby paramedics.
As the plane began
its descent, the baby arrived. The umbilical cord was around
his neck. The infant wasn't breathing and began turning dark
blue. "I really didn't think the baby was going to survive,"
said the doctor later. "I started CPR, massaged the baby's
chest with two fingers, and yelled, "breathe, baby, breathe."
At that point a husband/wife
paramedic team offered their help. She had training in infant
respiratory procedures. She asked for a straw to suction mucus
from the baby's airway. None could be found. Then a flight
attendant remembered she had a juice box with a straw attached
in her carry-on. While the doctor continued administering
CPR, the paramedic carefully steered the straw down the infant's
throat. Finally, with a small whimper, the baby began breathing.
A shoelace commandeered from a passenger was used to tie off
the umbilical cord. The baby was swaddled in blue airline
blankets. The flight attendant announced, "It's a boy." All
of the passengers broke into cheers.
On the ground, paramedics
boarded the plane and examined mother and baby. The mother
had low blood pressure and an IV was started. Then the mother
and baby were carried off the plane to a standing ovation
from fellow passengers.
After less than an
hour on the ground, the flight took off for Orlando. Before
landing, the captain announced that mother and baby (4 lbs,
6 oz. (2000 gms) were doing well. Free drinks were served
for everyone. The baby was given the middle name "Dulles."