Canadian doctor helps deliver baby mid-flight

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A Qatar Airways plane landed last month with an extra passenger on board: a little bundle of joy.

It was a big surprise for Canadian Dr. Aisha Khatib, who had no ‘help with a delivery’ in her flight plans that day.

“I didn’t expect a woman to give birth,” he said.

Khatib, who happens to specialize in travel medicine and, above all, airline health, was on his way to Uganda on a flight that had just left Doha last month when he heard a call on the public address system.

“About an hour into the flight, they announced, ‘Is there a doctor on board?'” Khatib said.

One female passenger, almost 36 weeks pregnant with her first child, told the flight crew that she had abdominal pain.

“It wasn’t long after departure when the first signs started to appear,” Rossen Dimitrov, director of customer experience for Qatar Airways, told CTV News.

Khatib ran to the back of the plane, where he found the mom-to-be.

“There was a woman lying there with her head towards the corridor and her feet towards the window,” Khatib said. “And this baby was coming out.”

Luckily, there was also a pediatrician and a nurse on board.

“This is the best situation you can end up in, and it was perfect,” Dmitrov said.

The birth happened very quickly once the team was assembled. The baby entered the world at 35,000 feet.

“I said ‘congratulations, it’s a girl,’ and then all of a sudden the whole plane started clapping and cheering: ‘come on, right,'” Khatib said.

The flight crew, who are also trained for this type of situation, posed with the newborn.

And while in-flight births do happen, Khatib says, from what he’s read, they’re relatively rare.

“The chance of giving birth to a baby on a plane is one in 26 million,” he said.

The flight continued to Uganda, where the mother is from.

Both mother and baby are said to be doing well. And mom was so grateful that she named her new daughter after the Canadian doctor.

“So he named her Miracle Aisha, which I thought was really lovely,” he said.

Archived by Alexandra Mae Jones of CTVNews.ca

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