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Neonatal Nurses, Doctor Help Woman Who Delivered Baby on Plane

photo of nurse handing new baby to mother

May 4, 2021

Three neonatal intensive care nurses and a family physician were in the right place -- on an airliner traveling to Hawaii -- at the right time -- when a woman unexpectedly delivered a baby prematurely on the flight.

The medical professionals sprang into action to keep baby Raymond, who came into the world at 29 weeks, healthy until the flight got to Honolulu, according to a news release from Hawaii Pacific Health.

Dale Glenn, MD, a family physician with Hawaii Pacific Health, said there was an emergency call for a doctor halfway through the Delta flight that left Salt Lake City for Honolulu on April 28.

“I let the flight attendant know that I'm a physician and she said we have a woman having a baby, so I hurried over to see what I could do,” he said, according to the release.

Three NICU nurses from North Kansas City Hospital -- Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding, and Mimi Ho -- answered the call.

"I went to see what was going on and see her there holding a baby in her hands, and it's little," Bamfield said, according to the news release.

The mom, Lavinia "Lavi" Mounga of Orem, Utah, said she was more than a little surprised.

"I just didn’t know I was pregnant," Mounga said in a video interview released from Hawaii Pacific Health, according to Q13 Fox of Seattle. "And this guy just came out of nowhere."

The nurses and the doctor improvised to keep Raymond safe for the rest of the flight. Glenn said they used shoelaces to cut and tie the umbilical cord, made baby warmers out of bottles that were microwavable, and measured the baby’s heart rate with an Apple Watch.

“We didn’t have the usual tools found in a neonatal intensive care unit, so there were a lot of vital signs we couldn’t track,” Glenn said.

As soon as the plane landed, an emergency medical team took mother and child to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. The doctor and the nurses went to visit them the next day at the hospital, the news release said.

Mounga has been discharged from the hospital. Raymond will remain in the NICU until he’s ready to go home, the news release said.

Mounga and Glenn both said she was extremely lucky to have emergency labor on the same plane as three neonatal nurses and a doctor.

“The great thing about this was the teamwork. Everybody jumped in together and everyone helped out,” Glenn said.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

 

Hawaii Pacific Health: "Hawaii Pacific Health and Kansas City Hospital Healthcare Workers Help Deliver Baby on Flight to Hawaii"

Q13Fox: “ ‘Just came out of nowhere’: Mom who gave birth on flight to Hawaii says she didn’t know she was pregnant”

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