'Hero' doctor safely delivers baby boy mid-flight on Qatar Airways

Photo: Alena Fedchenko / Facebook
Photo: Alena Fedchenko / Facebook 

She might be an ear, nose and throat specialist but Ukranian doctor Alena Fedchenko's medical training came right back to her earlier this week, safely delivering a baby boy mid-flight.

En route from Doha to Bangkok on Qatar Airways, Dr Fedchenko didn't hesitate to raise her hand when the crew announced they needed a doctor.

Staff escorted her to an attendant's room where there was a Thai woman in active labour on blankets laid out on the floor.

"I was worried something might go wrong. [But] everything went smoothly," she told BBC News Ukraine. "In a split second, I remembered everything I had once learned."

She recalled, "Not a single muscle was trembling. I just simply started doing what I had to do. I put on gloves and prepared the woman. The baby was about to come out. It was the second stage of labour."

Photo: Alena Fedchenko / Facebook

Photo: Alena Fedchenko / Facebook

The birth was straightforward and the baby was full term, despite Qatar Airways' policy regarding pregnant travellers stating that it does not allow "expectant mothers who are pregnant from their 36th week or beyond."

"The delivery was quick, and thankfully, without complications," Ms Fedchenko said. "The woman did not yell at all. I kept telling her everything would be all right, that I was a doctor and she was in safe hands."

Flight officials elected to land in Calcutta, India, where the mother and baby disembarked the aircraft and were taken to hospital for assessment.

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After a long delay, the flight took off for Bangkok, with the pilot's announcement that a baby had been born met with exuberant applause from passengers.

With her final holiday destination in Vietnam, Dr Fedchenko was honoured with a seat in business class and given celebratory champagne and fruit.

"Everyone was thanking me, shaking my hand," said the doctor, adding that she was very happy to have been able to help.


She posted the photos to Facebook while on their way to Calcutta - the post has been shared more than 1,300 times and attracted over 730 comments.

She wrote, "Our plane is going to [Calcutta], we are waiting for an ambulance. But the baby's mum is healthy! Feeling stress, happiness and storm of emotions! Thank you department of Obstetrics and Gynecology... I remembered everything in one minute!"

After being piled with praise she wrote in a later post, "Thank you all for the praise and feedback! But I'm not a hero, I did what I was taught."

She then urged people to thank the medical staff who do this every day, saving mothers and babies' lives, saying it was a twist of fate that put her in the right place at the right time.

This humble doctor is charming people all over the internet, and the baby is very cute too.

Qatar Airways also shared the news, announcing they were "delighted" to welcome a new member on the flight and the baby to join the crew "in 20 years time". 

As for the baby's country of birth to be printed on his birth certificate?

According to the UN, a baby born mid-flight is, "... a citizen of the country where the airline is registered," but this is not always the case as different countries have different rules.