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Miracle mid-flight baby delivered by Essex doctor

Miracle mid-flight baby delivered by Essex doctor

A doctor based at an Essex hospital unexpectedly helped deliver a baby mid-flight as he was returning from his holidays.

Dr Hassan Khan, an A&E doctor at Basildon Hospital, part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, was on a London-bound flight with his five friends, themselves also doctors, coming back from a trip to Amman, Jordan, when this incident happened.

It was two hours after the flight took off when the 38-year-old mother's water broke mid-air, and the crew asked for medical help.

Dr Khan was the only doctor on the plane who had the right training to resuscitate a newborn, as well as some involvement in delivering babies, and so after examining the mum, it was decided that he would be helping with the birth of the baby.

With the help of his fellow doctors and the crew, and using a few borrowed towels from the passengers on board and standby emergency oxygen masks for adults, he delivered the baby girl.

The language barrier posed a challenge, as the mum from Jordan did not speak English. Thankfully, a passenger on the flight served as a translator during the delivery.

Recalling the experience Dr Khan said: “I had to stay really focused to have the baby delivered with the limited support I had and look after the baby right after the delivery. The focus and criticality of the moment helped me filter-out the distractions from the panicked passengers and crew.

“I was so fixated on managing the situation, I almost forgot we were on an aircraft, and it felt surreal to help deliver a baby safely with more than two hundred unknown passengers and flight crew around.”

The plane was then diverted to Brindisi Airport in southern Italy so that the mum and her baby could be taken to hospital.

If you are ever in a situation like this, with no medical professional available, Dr Khan advises: "Stay calm, use whatever resources are available, tap into the birthing experience of the mothers on board, and work together to help the birthing mum."

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