Strange News

Duke doc helps deliver baby aboard jet over California

Posted December 9, 2014
Updated December 10, 2014

— A Southwest Airlines flight landed in Los Angeles with one more passenger than when it took off.

A passenger gave birth shortly after Flight 623 took off from San Francisco on Tuesday and the Phoenix-bound jet diverted to Los Angeles International Airport.

The woman was assisted by the flight crew and Dr. Dorothy Sipkins from Duke University Medical Center, who was aboard the flight.

Sipkins said she simply responded to an announcement regarding any medical personnel on the flight.

"I hadn't heard any kind of commotion, and so I just got up and proceeded to the back, and all the flight attendants were standing there," she said. "I asked what's going on, thinking someone was just passed out or feeling ill. I looked down and saw this woman who was giving birth to a baby on the seat."

Southwest spokeswoman Emily Samuels said hopefully the airline has a new customer for life.

Paramedics boarded the aircraft and the mother and newborn, whose names have not been released, were taken to a hospital in good condition, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said.

The aircraft was taken out of service for cleaning and the other passengers went on to Phoenix aboard another plane, arriving more than two hours behind schedule.

Passenger Julie Dafoe said she and Kurt Reed were sitting next to the woman.

"One of the nurses that helped, she said (the woman) was like walking around pacing in the airport. So, they were thinking she was having contractions," Dafoe told Phoenix TV station KTVK.

"All of a sudden, I heard a baby cry like a gurgling sound, like a baby that had too much milk or whatever, and I'm like 'There's no babies on this flight,'" Reed said.

Passengers said they had heard the call for a doctor but nothing about what the medical emergency was.

"The captain announced congratulations for the arrival of this new baby boy," another passenger, Aarti Shahani, told KTVK. "So, we all started applauding, but it was confusing because we thought someone was going to die not be born."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • KT6596 Dec 11, 2014

    Just wait until she gets the bill form the doctor for delivering her baby.

  • A cold, hard dose of Hans Dec 11, 2014

    The woman AND Southwest should be sued by all on board.

  • Cora Blue Dec 11, 2014
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    LO!L @ Hammerhead

  • Eq Videri Dec 11, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    I was hoping you'd catch that. ;-)

  • Brian Jenkins Dec 11, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Doesnt matter. JUst like in Tennessee this week when a car full of Saudis were allowed to leave after admitting to police they had a dead baby in the trunk and were on their way to a ritual. Only to find out the Mosque they said they were going to doesnt exist. OOPS. Imagine that being an American saying a dead baby was in the trunk. Im sure the "defend police at all cost" types will come up with something.

  • Anne Walker Dec 11, 2014
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    What's all the blaming about? Some women have labor pains that feel like gas, back pain, nervousness, indigestion, and non-labor Braxton Hicks contractions. Labor is not the same for everyone in sensation or duration. Some women could fly across country ---twice--- once labor begins and never be close to delivery or in dire need of medical attention.

  • Duff Dry Dec 11, 2014

    How do they know this newborn wasn't a terrorist bent on destruction?? .. because I don't believe the kid passed through security. Can't be too careful these days--AQ is recruiting them younger and younger.

  • Norman Lewis Dec 11, 2014
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    The woman was very irresponsible to board the flight so close to her due date and likely having contractions. The mother must have known something unusual was happening to her before boarding. Good thing the birth was routine. If her baby had not made it, who would she sue? To be sure she would not have accepted blame. I will point out that people treat a birth like a medical emergency when it is a natural event that has happened for thousands of years and millions of times without MD's, hospitals and advanced care and the vast majority of times goes off without a hitch.

  • Walter Smirth Dec 11, 2014
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    Congratulations to the mother. And the Duke doc should get at least a free ticket.

  • Mariann Byknish Dec 11, 2014
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    This new mother needs to be charged for the cleanup on the plane. It is not like she didn't know what was happening and she put her baby at risk . MANY things could have gone wrong with the birth and she was lucky. Sorry, no congratulations because , honestly, she doesn't deserve it!