A routine flight from London to India in October 2021 took an unexpected turn when a woman went into labor while on board. According to Metro UK, Maria Philip was just seven months pregnant when she started having contractions about two hours after the flight took off. Luckily, there was a doctor on board who was able to safely deliver the premature baby.
‘When we examined the woman, we saw her waters had broken and we told the crew it was an emergency and we needed space,” explained Dr. Inshad Ibrahim, an emergency room physician.
‘They turned an area which they normally prepare the food in into a delivery room for us with pillows and clothes. When we examined her, half the head of the baby was already out. The baby was very small but wasn’t making a sound, so I tapped his back and after about 15 to 20 seconds he opened his eyes and cried. That was a very long 15 to 20 seconds. The baby seemed ok, good blood flow and suckling reflex, but we still had seven hours to go before reaching our destination.”
Leela Baby, a nurse, was also on the flight and sprang to help. Baby told Sussex Live that while it had been many years since she delivered a baby, her instincts and training kicked in as she provided support for the laboring Philip. “I was extremely pleased and proud of myself to be a nurse, and the success of this event made me even more confident in my skills,” she said.
The newborn, named Shawn Michael, weighed 2 lb 4 oz, and he needed urgent neonatal care. To keep him warm, passengers donated items of clothing to wrap around him. Rather than wait out the remaining seven hours of the journey, Ibrahim asked the pilot if he could make an emergency landing. The plane was able to land in Frankfurt, Germany, where mom, dad, and baby were whisked away to a local hospital.
‘It was an amazing experience — a celebratory moment for all the passengers. Everyone was so happy and excited. We all consoled and helped her husband too, and passengers helped my wife with our two children during the flight too. We became like close family,” Ibrahim said, according to Wales Online.
According to reports, little Shawn stayed a month in the hospital in Frankfurt but has now returned home with his family. Baby said that she has been in touch with Maria Philip, and both she and baby Shawn are doing just fine after Shawn’s harrowing birth.
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