Doctors deliver healthy baby....35,000 feet above the ground

When flight crew asked if there was a doctor on the plane they found two. 

A doctor and a paediatrician helped to deliver a healthy baby boy, over Greenland.

On the transatlantic flight from Paris to New York, 27-year-old urology resident Dr. Sij Hemal was hoping to kick back with a movie and a cold drink. 

He was returning from a friends wedding, and happened to be sitting beside a paediatrician. 

“I was pretty tired from jet lag,” he told Clevland Clinic. “I thought I’d just have a drink and fall asleep. As it turned out, I’m glad I didn't drink anything.”

That's because fellow passenger 41-year-old Toyin Ogundipe went into labour. 

The crew contemplated an emergency landing at a US military base two hours away. Dr. Hemal, however suggested that they were better off to keep going to their original destination, JFK Airport, which was 4 hours away. 

“Her contractions were about 10 minutes apart, so the paediatrician and I began to monitor her vital signs and keep her comfortable," he explained. 

The paediatrician, Dr. Susan Shephard, was returning to New York from a conference in Dakar.

 Ogundipe was moved to the roomier first class, while the doctors checked her vital signs with the aircraft's first aid kit. 

As the contractions accelerated, Dr. Hemal knew that she was going to deliver on the plane. 

“We’re trained to stay calm and think clearly in emergency situations,” he said. “I just tried to think ahead to what might go wrong, and come up with a creative solution.”

Ogundipe was impressed with the high-flying care she received: 

“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 labour room in the hospital. Even better, if you ask me.”

Jake, a baby boy, was delivered, while Dr. Hemil attended to his mother and Dr. Shephard assessed the newborn's health. 

Upon touchdown the pair were whisked off to a local hospital, while Dr. Hemil hurried to his connecting flight . 

“So much could have gone wrong, but it didn't. Being on that particular flight, sitting next to a paediatrician … it’s like it was destiny,” Dr. Hemal says. “Thanks to God, everything worked out.”

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