Doctor Helps Woman Deliver Baby on 19-Hour Flight From Taiwan to LA

Doctor Helps Woman Deliver Baby on 19-Hour Flight From Taiwan to LA

Jamaica Bravo

An airplane is hardly the best place for birthing a child, but that’s what this mother found herself having to do last Thursday, when her water broke only six hours in on a 19-hour flight. The unnamed woman, according to ABC News, was almost 32 weeks pregnant.

In a report later issued by China Airlines staff, they explained that the limit for purchasing a ticket from their airline while pregnant is having passed the 32-week mark. The mother, who was flying from Taiwan to Los Angelas, California, was sitting in the middle of row 49 when she realized the baby was coming early. The aircraft was 30,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean and the closest airport was still way too far away, so the crew desperately asked if there was a doctor on board. And luckily for mommy, a resident physician from UCLA who also happened to speak Mandarin, had boarded the same flight.

Dr. Angelica Zen, who was flying home with her husband from her honeymoon in Bali, told reporters that she was “a little bit nervous” because it had been her first time actually delivering a baby herself. Amira Rajput, one of the many passengers who were awakened from deep sleep when the doctor had to turn the lights on, videoed the entire birth and posted it online. Rajput told reporters that the mother had been so worried about making too much noise and disturbing the other passengers, that she had bit down on blankets to muffle her labor cries. “The woman is tough as nails,” he said in an interview later, “People were super quiet and calm so that this woman could have a stress-free experience.” The baby girl, who was reported as “looking very healthy” was born on a plane owned by the Republic of China, but in US airspace, so whether or not she will be a US citizen is still up in the air.

When the plane touched down for an emergency landing in Anchorage, Alaska, so that mother and baby could get the care they needed, a border patrol agent came on board and questioned the mother to ensure that she hadn’t intentionally boarded the plane while about to give birth so that her baby could have dual citizenship. The law states that a baby born within a 12 mile radius of American soil is a US citizen, so it is likely the little one will be given American citizenship, though a deeper investigation will have to be conducted first.

We’re just glad this baby is healthy and safe– and has a really great a story! Great work, Dr. Angelica Zen!

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