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The Stork Beats The Jet

 

Journeywoman originally published this article in 1994 with permission from Dr. Neuman. This year we were contacted by a Japanese Television crew who read the article at Journeywoman.com and were interested in including this particular story in an upcoming Japanese television series. They asked our help in finding the pilot who made this lovely love story happen. Unfortunately too much time has passed for us to have this information. Last we heard the Japanese research team were making progress in tracking him down. We'll keep you posted if we learn anything new.

 

Is There 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.

Contractions started 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 right now."

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."


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