Canadian doctor delivers 'miracle baby' on Qatar Airways flight to Uganda

Canadian doctor delivers 'miracle baby' on Qatar Airways flight to Uganda
Canadian doctor Aisha Khatib delivered a premature baby on a Qatar Airways flight to Uganda while it flew over Egypt at 35,000 feet.
3 min read
15 January, 2022
The baby was delivered on a Qatar Airways plane flying over Egypt [Getty]

A Canadian doctor on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Entebbe Airport in Uganda delivered a baby 35,000 feet above ground, according to a BBC report published on Saturday.

Aisha Khatib was going to Uganda for work and medical training on 5 December when a Ugandan migrant worker travelling home from Saudi Arabia went into labour.

Staff on board the plane appealed for help on the plane’s intercom and Dr Khatib immediately responded, despite feeling tired after working hard in Covid-hit Toronto.

Initially, Khatib thought that a fellow passenger had suffered a heart attack.

"I see a crowd of people gathered around the patient," she told BBC News.

"As I got closer see this woman lying on the seat with her head toward the aisle and feet towards the window. And the baby was coming out!"

The baby arrived prematurely, at 35 weeks, and was named Miracle Aisha after Khatib by her mother.

"The best part of the story is that she decided to name the baby after me," Khatib told the BBC.

The doctor gave the baby a gold necklace with her name written on it in Arabic as a gift in gratitude to her mother.

"I thought I'd give it to her and she'll have a little token of the doctor that delivered her 35,000ft in the air while flying over the Nile."

Khatib was assisted by a paediatrician and a nurse from Doctors without Borders (MSF) who also happened to be on the Qatar Airways flight to Uganda.

The plane was flying over Egypt at the time. While the baby was delivered over a month ago, Dr Khatib was busy treating coronavirus patients in Canada that she could only share the news this week.

Khatib told The Global Times that she luckily found a delivery kit in the plane’s medical kit, enabling her to cut the baby’s umbilical cord.

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She said that delivering a baby on a plane was much more dangerous than childbirth on the ground.

"When you’re high up in altitude, you have to worry about lower oxygen pressures that can affect potentially baby in respiratory distress," she said.

"There’s always risk of post-partum haemorrhage or [bleeding] after the delivery. And if you don’t have blood products or anything to stabilise mom, that’s always a risk and that would be a major emergency."

However, Dr Khatib said on Twitter that both Miracle Aisha and her mother were now healthy and doing well.