A planeload of passengers on an overnight flight from Qatar to Uganda burst into applause after a Canadian doctor delivered a “miracle” baby on board, according to reports.
Dr. Aisha Khatib, a professor at the University of Toronto, sprang into action when she answered an urgent appeal on Qatar Airways’ intercom for a medical professional.
“I see a crowd of people gathered around the patient,” Khatib told BBC News. “As I got closer I see this woman lying on the seat with her head toward the aisle and feet towards the window. And the baby was coming out!”
Khatib was helped by two other passengers — an oncology nurse and a pediatrician from the non-profit Doctors Without Borders.
“I looked at the baby, and she was stable, and I looked at the mom and she was OK,” said Khatib.
“So I was like, ‘Congratulations it’s a girl.’ Then the entire plane started clapping and cheering and was like ‘Oh right, I’m on a plane and everybody is watching this.’”
The baby was crying “robustly,” she said, later posing with pictures of the newborn on her Twitter feed. The birth took place on Dec. 5, but Khatib only posted the photographs this week because she said she was too busy treating COVID patients in Toronto. She was called back to the Canadian city from Entebbe, where she had gone to train medical workers, she said.
The mother, a migrant worker who was on her way home to Uganda from Saudi Arabia to deliver her first child, named her daughter after Khatib. The doctor gave the mother a gold necklace she was wearing with “Aisha” written in Arabic.
“I thought I’d give it to her and she’ll have a little token of the doctor that delivered her 35,000 feet in the air while flying over the Nile,” she said.