A doctor was luckily on hand when a woman went into labor on an international Air France flight, further proving that the most unexpected things can happen when you’re on a plane.
Dr. Sij Hemal, a second-year urology resident at Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, was called to action to deliver a baby on his flight from Paris to New York City.
Hemal had started his trip in New Delhi, India and was on his way back to Cleveland, Ohio, stopping first in Paris for an Air France flight to New York City, where he would make his final connection.
A flight attendant asked if there were any doctors on board when a woman named Toyin Ogundipe went into labor as the plane made its way over the coast of Greenland, according to the Cleveland Clinic's report.
“She was complaining of back pain. At first, I thought it might be kidney stones, but after she told me she was pregnant, I knew she was going into labor,” Hemal told CNN.
Ogundipe’s contractions had accelerated so fast that the plane would not have been able to make an emergency landing in time, so the crew moved her to first class and the plane continued to New York City.
“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,” Ogundipe told the Cleveland Clinic.
After a half-hour labor, Ogundipe’s baby boy, Jake, was born.
Once the plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, both mother and child were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, four miles from the airport, and were released later that day, according to CNN.
Hemal also thankfully made it onto his connecting flight to Cleveland, thanks to some assistance by airport officials who helped him through immigration, given the special circumstances.
Air France also thanked him for his service with a bottle of champagne and a travel voucher.
“Honestly, it was something from God. A lot of things could have gone wrong. But we made the best with what we had,” Hemal said.