A Canadian doctor helped to deliver a baby mid-flight, at 35,000 feet in the air
A Qatar Airways jet landed last month with an extra passenger on board — a little bundle of joy.
It came as a big surprise to Canadian Dr. Aisha Khatib, who didn’t have ‘assist with a delivery’ on her flight plans that day.
"I was not expecting a woman delivering a baby,” she said.
Khatib, who happens to specialize in travel medicine and, of all things, health on airplanes, was on her way to Uganda on a flight that had just left Doha last month, when she heard a call come over the P.A. system.
“About an hour into the flight, they announced, ‘is there a doctor on board?’" Khatib said.
A passenger, almost 36 weeks pregnant with her first child, told the flight crew she was having abdominal pain.
"It was not long after departure, when sort of the first signs started coming in,” Rossen Dimitrov, chief officer of customer experience at Qatar Airways, told CTV News.
Khatib raced to the back of the jet, where she found the mom-to-be.
“There was this woman lying there with her head towards the aisle and her feet towards the window,” Khatib said. “And this baby was coming out."
As further luck would have it, there was also a pediatrician and a nurse on board.
“This is sort of the best situation that you can end up in, and it was just perfect,” Dmitrov said.
The birth happened very quickly once the team was assembled. The baby entered the world at 35,000 feet.
"I said ‘congratulations, it's a girl,’ and then all of a sudden the whole plane started clapping and cheering — ‘let's go, right’,” Khatib said.
The flight crew, who are also trained for such situations, posed with the newborn.
And while births on flights do happen, Khatib says from what she’s read, they’re relatively rare.
“The chance of delivering a baby on a plane is about one in 26 million,” she said.
The flight continued on to Uganda, where the mother is from.
Both the mother and the baby are said to be doing just fine. And mom was so grateful, she named her new daughter after the Canadian doctor.
“So she named her Miracle Aisha, which I thought was really lovely,” she said.
With files from CTVNews.ca's Alexandra Mae Jones