Mother Delivers Baby 35000 Feet In The Air: He started in New Delhi (India), stopped in Paris and was now headed to NY, where he would catch a connecting flight to Cleveland – his final destination. Thanks to a pair of doctors on a recent Air France flight from Paris to NY, a woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy somewhere in the skies above the eastern coast of North America.
Before he could take that glass, however, a flight attendant was seeking for medical help through the speakers because a 41-year-old Nigerian woman named Toyin Ogundipe was complaining of back pain and dizziness.
“As it turned out, I’m glad I didn’t drink anything”. While Hemal practices urology, this wasn’t his first delivery. The plane was over the southern coast of Greenland at the time, four hours from destination John F. Kennedy airport and two hours from a safe emergency landing at a USA military base in the Azores Islands.
Toyin Ogundipe delivered her son, Jake, in mid-air about 35,000 feet above sea level. The crew moved Ogundipe to first class, which had fewer passengers and more space. “Her contractions were about 10 minutes apart, so a pediatrician (Dr. Stefanie Ortolan, of Senlis, France) and I began to monitor her vital signs and keep her comfortable”, explains Dr.
Hemal was seated next to French pediatrician, Dr. Susan Shepherd, and together they delivered a healthy baby boy. Dr. Hemal said a cervix exam enabled them to know that they were going to deliver the child into the air.
The urologist had previously delivered seven babies but all were during medical school, not on a plane. “We’re trained to stay calm and think clearly in emergency situations”, he adds. “I was relaxed because I knew I was in safe hands”, Ogundipe said of the entire ordeal. The doctors assessed Jake’s vitals, removed Ogundipe’s placenta, and tied off the umbilical cord with the aid of a shoestring.
“A lot of things could have gone wrong. Even better, if you ask me”. When they finally landed, Ogundipe and Jake were quickly sent off to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, four miles from the airport, and were released later that day.
The baby boy, whom Ogundipe named Jake, was transferred to a hospital along with his mother upon landing in NY. Dr.
Hemal still had one more leg on his long, global journey – and officials escorted him briskly through immigration and to his gate. Once in NY, he would then take his last flight of the journey to Cleveland.
Hemal eventually received a whole bottle from Air France, along with a travel voucher, to show their appreciation for his help. “Being on that particular flight, sitting next to a pediatrician … it’s like it was destiny”, avows Dr.
“So much could have gone wrong, but it didn’t”. “Thanks to God, everything worked out”.