By Lucy Caulkett-
A woman who went into labour prematurely on a plane was fortunate to have chosen a flight with some highly qualified nurses on board.
Lavinia “Lavi” Mounga was travelling from Salt Lake City to Hawaii on 28 April for a family holiday when she went into labour at 29 weeks with her son, Raymond.
The sudden premature labour prompted an emergency call for help, and to everyone’s surprise, she was greeted by some helpful nurses who immediately attended to her.
The chances of a premature labour alongside the presence of medical professionals was severely remote, it was as good as fate.
“About halfway through the flight there was an emergency call, and I’ve experienced this before and usually they’re pretty clear asking if there is a doctor on board,” said Dale Glenn, a Hawaii Pacific health family medicine doctor. “This call was not like this and it was fairly urgent.”
North Kansas City Hospital neonatal intensive care nurses Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding and Mimi Ho helped deliver Lavinia Mounga’s premature baby.
There were also three neonatal intensive care unit nurses from North Kansas City hospital on board, all of whom came to the woman’s aid.
The group used shoelaces to cut and tie the umbilical cord and a smartwatch to measure the baby’s heart rate.
“We’re all trying to work in a very small, confined space in an airplane, which is pretty challenging. But the teamwork was great,” Glenn said.
Claps and cheers reverberated throughout the plane, as the success of the operation was celebrated by the entire room of passengers after the flight crew called for congratulations for the new mother.
The special occasion viewed on TikTok by Julia Hansen being viewed more than 11m times.
Medical crew entered the plane in Honolulu after the plane landed three hours later.
Cries of the newborn could be heard as the mother and baby boy were taken off in a wheelchair.
Hansen and a friend she was flying with, Siearra Rowlan, told the Washington Post the situation initially caused a commotion but passengers were pretty “casual” about it by the end of the flight.
“Everyone just kind of got up, got their carry-on and left,” Hansen said.
The three nurses who were able to visit Mounga and the baby at Kapiolani women and children’s hospital in Honolulu and said it was an emotional reunion.
“We all just teared up. She called us family and said we’re all his aunties, and it was so great to see them,” Ho said.
Mounga has since been discharged but baby Raymond will remain in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) until he is ready to go home. “It has been very overwhelming,” Mounga said. “I’m just so lucky that there were three NICU nurses and a doctor on the plane to help me, and help stabilise him and make sure he was OK for the duration of the flight.”