Dr. Aisha Khatib usually tries to relax during the flight.
But last month, when the University of Toronto professor was on her way from Qatar to Uganda on a Qatar Airways flight, life had other plans.
When the plane crew called for a doctor, Khatib got to his feet and found himself in a leading role in a medical drama in the air.
“As I approached, what I saw was a woman lying on the couch and her head was out of the hallway and her legs were towards the window and a baby was coming out,” she said. As it happens introduce Carol Off.
A crowd of passengers surrounded the mother, whose daughter was already halfway there.
Mother was ‘calm and focused’
Khatib recalls someone who had given her gloves before she considered the next birth.
“While this was happening, someone on my left said to me, ‘I’m a nurse, can I help you?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I need a medical kit. “You know, there has to be a delivery bag.” [here]. If not, I need clips. I need scissors. “If we do not have clips, I need shoelaces,” she said.
“I am [also] thinking, ‘I need hot water’. And then like: ‘Wait, no. “I do not need hot water, but this is always required in the movies.”
It was an unexpected surprise for both Khatib, who had never given birth to a child on a plane before, and the mother, who was traveling alone. A migrant worker, she was flying home from work in Saudi Arabia.
“She was calm. She was focused,” Khatib recalls. “I mean, I think she was in shock, you know, to tell the truth.”
According to the doctor, the mother called an airline attendant when she felt severe abdominal pain. The doctor asked her if she was pregnant and only then did the passenger realize she was at birth.
Qatar Airways told CityNews that crews are trained to deal with on-board emergencies, including the birth of infants. He also said that the airline usually has an interruption for the time when pregnant women can fly and the woman in Dr.’s flight. Khatib was on the verge of that interruption.
“She had not had any care before giving birth,” Khatib said. “Even when I got into this situation, I had no story about anything about it. And so this is always a slightly scary situation, right?”
The Canadian Government Travel Guide says Women with healthy pregnancies can reach up to the 36th week of pregnancy, but that most airlines restrict travel to late pregnancy or may require written confirmation from a physician.
After the baby was in the seat, another passenger came out near Khatib and identified himself as a pediatrician with Mdecins Sans Frontires.
The pediatrician evaluated the newborn after Khatib turned her attention to the birth of the placenta and to make sure the mother was healthy.
“I’m piling blankets under her, taking care not to want her to bleed, so I had to walk very slowly with the placenta,” Khatib said.
“Then I’m thinking, ‘OK, well, I need a plastic bag. Give me a plastic bag.’ So these people [other passengers] “They were just giving me things the way I asked them to, which is fantastic.”
A new adash
With the mother in stable condition, the pediatrician returned the newborn to Khatib.
I said, ‘OK, well, congratulations! It’s a girl! “And at that moment, the whole plane burst into applause and cheers, and I said,” Oh, okay. “I’m on a plane,” Khatib said.
The mother and baby were cleaned and moved to business class seats to give them more space. The baby then bonded with her mother and began breastfeeding immediately.
“Fortunately, they were fine,” Khatib said.
“The best part is that the mother named the baby after me, she called it the miracle Aisha.”
Khatib has exchanged numbers with the mother and they have maintained contacts since then. However, before they separated, the doctor gave a gift to the newborn.
“I had a necklace on which she had my name in Arabic, so I gave it to her as my adashin. In order for her to always remember that it was handed over by a lady named Aisha, in the air. [when] “We were flying over the Nile,” she said.
“It’s pretty spectacular.”
Written by Mehek Mazhar. Interview with Aisha Khatib produced by Katie Geleff.
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