A doctor and three nurses happened to be in the right place at the right time when a woman went into labor on a flight from Utah to Hawaii. Lavinia Mounga had no idea she was 29 weeks pregnant and was on her way to spend some time with her family in Hawaii for a vacation.
Dr. Dale Glenn was relaxing in his seat when he heard the flight crew ask if there was a doctor on the plane.
"About halfway through the flight, there was an emergency call, and I've experienced this before, and usually they're pretty clear asking if there is a doctor on board," Glenn said in a press release. "This call was not like this, and it was fairly urgent. I let the flight attendant know that I'm a physician, and she said we have a woman having a baby, so I hurried over to see what I could do."
As Dr. Glenn rushed to help, three other nurses, Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding, and Mimi Ho, who work as neonatal intensive care unit nurses at North Kansas City Hospital, offered their assistance as well.
They had to get creative as they had limited space and supplies to help Mounga through the premature birth of her son, who she named Raymond.
"Basically, you need somebody to watch the mom too because we have two patients, not just one. So someone's got to help cut the cord, someone's got to help deliver the placenta, we've got to check vital signs on mom. Meanwhile, we're trying to resuscitate the baby, make sure the baby's breathing, get baby warmed up. That's a lot of work to do, and we're all trying to work in a very small, confined space in an airplane, which is pretty challenging. But the teamwork was great," Glenn explained.
They used shoelaces to cut and tie the umbilical cord and then monitored Raymond's heartbeat with a smartwatch. After three hours, the plane landed in Hawaii, where paramedics were waiting to take Mounga and her son to the hospital.
"As soon as we got him on board the ambulance, we headed straight for Kapiolani. And once he arrived there, the emergency room took great care of him, moved him up to the NICU, and baby and mom are both doing great," Glenn said.
A few days later, all four of them got to meet up with Mounga and Raymond at the hospital.
"We all just teared up. She called us family and said we're all his aunties, and it was so great to see them," Ho said.
Mounga said that she considers herself lucky that there were people on the flight who could help her.
"It has been very overwhelming, and I'm just so lucky that there were three NICU nurses and a doctor on the plane to help me and help stabilize him and make sure he was ok for the duration of the flight," said Mounga.
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