8 Hour-Long Flight From Paris To New York
Dr. Sij Hemal, a second-year urology resident at the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, had just attended his best friend's wedding in New Delhi, India, and was starting his long journey back to the United States.
The long journey began from India to Paris and then later to New York. Once in New York, he would then take his last flight of the journey to Cleveland. The longest flight of the journey, however, was from Paris to New York, which was expected to last for 8 hours long.
During the 8-hour long journey on an Air France flight, Hemal was planning to watch a movie, drink a glass of champagne, and then take a nap.
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.
At that point, the medical doctor decided to get out of his seat and proceed to offer his help.
Going Into Labor
Hemal said he initially thought that the woman was experiencing pain due to her kidney stones, but after she informed him of her pregnancy, it was by then that he realized that she was actually going into labor.
By that time, the flight was reportedly 4 hours away from the destination and about 2 hours away from the nearest U.S. military base, where the plane could make an emergency landing. Also, the plane was just passing through the southern coast of Greenland.
Because of the urgent nature of the situation, Hemal and a French pediatrician, who coincidentally was seated next to the medical doctor, decided to take action into their own hands.
Ogundipe was moved to the first-class section of the plane where there were less passengers and more space. Her pulse, vitals, oxygen rate, and, blood pressure levels were checked using limited equipment from the plane.
Baby Jake Delivered On A Plane
After one hour, the woman's contractions began to accelerate. By then, it became clear to the doctors that they were going to have to deliver the baby on the plane.
Fortunately, this wasn't Hemal's first delivery. He had delivered seven babies during his medical training at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina. After 30 minutes, Ogundipe gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Jake.
"I was relaxed because I knew I was in safe hands. They did everything a doctor or midwife would have done if I was in the labor room in the hospital. Even better, if you ask me." said Ogundipe.