A doctor and team of newborn medics were in the right place at the right time, helping a Utah woman deliver her baby on an hour-long flight to Hawaii.
Lavinia “Lavi” Mounga traveled from Salt Lake City to Hawaii on April 28 for a family vacation when she gave birth to son Raymond in just 29 weeks gestation.
Dr. Dale Glenn, a family doctor for Hawaii Pacific Health, and Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding, and Mimi Ho, newborn intensive care nurses at North Kansas City Hospital, were also on board.
“There was a 911 call about halfway through the flight, and I’ve seen it before, and they usually ask pretty clearly if there’s a doctor on board,” Glenn said in a Hawaii Pacific Health press release. “That call wasn’t like that and it was pretty urgent.”
Bamfield said she heard someone call for medical help and saw how small the baby was.
All three nurses and the doctor took action. With no special equipment for the premature baby, the group got creative: they used shoelaces to cut and tie the umbilical cord, and used a smartwatch to measure the baby’s heart rate.
“We all try to work in confined spaces on an airplane, which is pretty challenging. But the teamwork has been great,” said Glenn.
The delivery was also the subject of a viral TikTok that got more than 11 million views on Sunday night. The video shared by Julia Hansen shows the birth announcement on the flight, with the plane landing three hours later.
Hansen and a friend she flew with, Siearra Rowlan, told the Washington Post that the situation initially caused a stir, but other passengers were fairly “casual” by the end of the flight.
“Everyone just got up, got their hand luggage and left,” Hansen said of the scene after Mounga and her son were first led away.
Medical crews were waiting at the Honolulu airport to take the mother and child to the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
The three flight nurses were able to visit Mounga and the baby on Friday and said it was an emotional reunion.
“We all just tore each other up. She called us family and said we’re all his aunts and it was so great to see them,” said Ho.
Mounga has since been released, but baby Raymond will remain in intensive care until he is ready to go home.
“It was very overwhelming,” said Mounga. “I’m just so happy that there were three nurses in the intensive care unit and a doctor on the plane to help stabilize him and make sure he was fine for the duration of the flight.”
Baby born in flight on board an airliner over US
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