There was a close call in the skies over Washington, D.C., Monday when a woman on a transatlantic flight went into premature labor. A doctor on board said the lives of both the mother and her unborn child were at risk.
The woman went into labor on an Air France flight from Paris to Dulles International Airport.
It happened about 30 minutes into the 7.5-hour flight to D.C. The crew aboard Flight 028 radioed authorities at Dulles and told them that a woman was giving birth on the flight. Two doctors on the plane were able to stabilize the woman's condition.
"She had massive heart pain and chest pain," said Dr. Brian Reddy, a French orthopedic surgeon who treated the woman during the flight. "She was having contractions all of the time."
He says it was touch and go for the next few hours as he worked with another doctor to save the woman and her unborn child. "The water didn’t break. We were really lucky because the baby was in breech position, which is a really dangerous situation," Reddy said.
The woman was moved up to first class from her coach seat so the doctors could use an emergency medical kit to keep her alive.
When Air France Flight 028 finally pulled up to its gate at Dulles, a small army of emergency vehicles was there to greet it. Rescue workers took the pregnant woman and her husband away to a local hospital.
There was no immediate word on her condition, but Reddy expects both mother and baby to be fine.
"It was really a dangerous situation," said Reddy. "She was lucky."
It was originally thought that the woman gave birth on the plane based on the call from the flight crew.
Published at 2:42 PM EST on Dec 28, 2009