A Canadian doctor on a business trip to Uganda acted quickly after a woman gave birth just one hour into a flight from Doha to Entebbe.
After cabin staff requested assistance, Dr. Aisha Khatib, Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine at the University of Toronto, successfully assisted the baby.
The Qatar Airways flight took off on December 7, 2021, but the details of the mid-flight miracle’ were just recently made public.
“It was about an hour into the flight,” Dr Khatib told Canada’s CTV News Toronto. “They basically asked if there was a doctor or medical personnel on board.” Dr Khatib volunteered her help and was directed to the back of the plane.
Is there a doctor on the plane? 🙋🏽♀️👩🏽⚕️Never thought I’d be delivering a baby on a flight! ✈️ @qatarairways Thanks to the airline crew who helped support the birth of this Miracle in the air! Mom and baby are doing well and healthy! #travelmedicine pic.twitter.com/4JuQWfsIDE
— Aisha Khatib, MD (@AishaKhatib) January 13, 2022
She discovered the pregnant traveler surrounded by a crowd and initially mistook the medical emergency for a heart attack or something more serious.
But then she observed the first-time mother, who was standing with her feet up, pointing to the windows and the baby exiting. The Ugandan domestic worker had been working in Saudi Arabia but was returning home to give birth when she went into labor five weeks early.
The pregnant passenger, on the other hand, was in fine hands. Onboard the trip, Dr. Khatib was accompanied by an oncology nurse and a pediatrician from Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).
“Someone threw me a pair of gloves and we had to lean over this woman to get this baby as it was coming out,” Dr. Khatib commented.
Her doubts that the plane wouldn’t have the proper equipment on board were swiftly dispelled when cabin personnel handed her a delivery pack and foreign airlines stock for precisely such an occasion.
“I was able to cut the cords, cut the umbilical cord. And check the baby over,” she said. “The baby was crying and had color and so I gave her a good rubdown and passed her over to the pediatrician,” Dr. Khatib continued.
“So I was like, ‘Congratulations it’s a girl.’ Then the entire plane started clapping and cheering and was like ‘Oh right, I’m on a plane and everybody is watching this.’” she later told BBC News.
Miracle Aisha was the name chosen by the new mother for her baby girl. In Uganda, both are believed to be doing well.
Dr. Khatib has returned to Canada, albeit her travel back was not without incident. Another medical emergency arose, but happily, a second doctor was onboard who volunteered to help and allowed Dr. Khatib to relax.