Duke doc helps deliver baby aboard jet over California
Posted December 9, 2014
Updated December 10, 2014
LOS ANGELES — 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."