- An off-duty doctor sprung into action on a long-haul flight when a woman sitting next to him suddenly went into labour on the plane.
- For Dr Sij Hemal, who works at Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, The eight hour Air France flight from Paris to New York was the second leg of his journey back to the States from India.
- He was tired as the second-year urology resident at Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute had spent his entire day traveling. He started in New Delhi, stopped in Paris and was now headed to New York, where he would catch a connecting flight to Cleveland — his final destination.
- In flight, he planned to watch a movie. But, suddenly everything changed. As, a fellow passenger, Toyin Ogundipe, went into labour.
- A flight attendant was looking for any doctors on board. So Hemal got out of his seat and went to offer what help he could.
- After about half an hour, Ogundipe gave birth to a boy named Jake. Thus, Hemal was relieved.
It was then he discovered that 41-year-old Toyin Ogundipe, a banker who lives between the US and Nigeria, had gone into labour as the plane skirted the southern coast of Greenland, 35,000 feet below. “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 labour”, said Hemal.
Over the course of an hour, Ogundipe’s contractions accelerated. “Once they got to two minutes apart, that’s when we knew we were going to deliver on the plane,” said Hemal.
Ogundipe said in a statement. “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.”
When they finally landed, Ogundipe and Jake were quickly sent off to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, four miles from the airport.