Nigerian woman Toyin Ogundipe deliver baby on plane from Paris to New York

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Dr. Sij Hemal and French pediatrician, Dr. Stefanie Ortolan delivered Toyin Ogundipe of a healthy baby boy named Jake
Dr. Sij Hemal and French pediatrician, Dr. Stefanie Ortolan delivered Toyin Ogundipe of a healthy baby boy named Jake

A second-year urology resident jumped into action to deliver a fellow passenger’s baby boy half-way through an eight-hour flight from Paris to New York.

Dr Sij Hemal was awaiting a glass of champagne on the way home from his best friend’s wedding when flight attendants asked for medical help over the loudspeaker.

Raising his hand, he was promptly asked to help Toyin Ogyndipe, 41, who had gone into labor a week early – four hours from their destination and two hours away from a safe emergency landing.

Using the Air France flight’s medical supplies to monitor vitals and contractions, Dr Hemal helped the Nigerian banker, who lives and works in the UK, safely deliver her son after 30 minutes of pushing.

He used shoestring to tie and cut the umbilical cord for baby Jake, who now has a US passport because they were flying in US airspace.

Speaking to Daily Mail Online, Dr Hemal said he was just glad everything went smoothly – and was relieved it all happened before he’d had any champagne.

Jake was born in the US airspace and is a US citizen by birth

‘We’re trained to stay calm and think clearly in emergency situations,’ Dr Hemal, who had delivered seven babies during his training, told Daily Mail Online. ‘I just tried to think ahead to what might go wrong and come up with a creative solution.’

He said his biggest fear was that the mother could die from bleeding or shock after birth.

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But looking back, he insists it all went as well as it could have done.

‘I thought I’d just have a drink and fall asleep. As it turned out, I’m glad I didn’t drink anything,’ he said.

Dr Hemal, who had been on vacation in New Dehli, India, was flying coach class via Paris and New York on his way back to Cleveland on December 17.

Coincidentally, when the flight attendants came to ask him for advice, the urologist at Cleveland Clinic‘s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute discovered he was seated next to Dr Stefanie Ortolan, a pediatrician from France.

The pair were ushered over to Ogyndipe, also in coach, who was complaining of chest pains and dizziness.

Dr Hemal thought it could be kidney stones until she revealed to him that she was 39 weeks pregnant.

‘She was covered with a blanket so I couldn’t see that she was pregnant, but the pain she was describing sounded like contractions,’ he said.

Urologist, Dr Hemal delivered the baby boy after 30 minutes of labour
Photo: Cleveland Clinic

Toyin was in labor and having contractions about 10 minutes apart.

After moving her to first class, the pilot spoke with Dr Hemal and told him they were over the western coast of Greenland and the nearest emergency landing was at a US military base on the Azores Islands two hours away.

Dr Hemal suggested to continue flying toward JFK International Airport in New York.

While the flight attendants took care of Toyin’s four-year-old daughter Amy, the doctors used instruments and supplies in the flight’s medical kit to routinely check her blood pressure, oxygen rate and pulse.

Within an hour the contractions were coming more frequently occurring seven, then five and finally two minutes apart.

‘My initial plan was to monitor her and her vitals but we did a cervical exam and that’s when her water broke,’ he said.

‘That’s when we knew we were going to deliver on the plane,’ Dr Hemal added.

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