Doctor and nurse who were also travelling from Kuwait helped deliver child

At 10.30 p.m., KU-343, a Kuwait Airways flight, left for Chennai with 205 passengers.

Inside that rather quiet flight, around 3 a.m. a 37-year-old woman, Radha Subramani, a native of Rajampet in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh went into labour. A doctor and a nurse, who were also travelling to Chennai, along with the cabin crew rushed to help her deliver the baby. After intense labour for an hour and fifteen minutes, she delivered a baby boy weighing 2.34 kg.

At 4.30 a.m. (IST), after the flight landed in Chennai, the medical team at the airport, which had received an alert from the crew, rushed to the flight and administered immediate care after which Ms. Subramani was taken to a private hospital in the city.

Ms. Subramani had a rather difficult delivery as it was a ‘breech birth’— wherein the baby’s feet came out first as opposed to the head, a doctor said. It is not known if the doctor on board was a gynaecologist but carrying out such a complex delivery, that too on a flight, is likely to have been very challenging, sources said. She was nine months pregnant and the airline should not have allowed her to travel, they added.

Kuwait Airways usually does not allow pregnant women on board from 6-8 weeks prior to the due date, an airline official said.

Expectations that the baby may be accorded privileges such as three years of free travel by Kuwait Airways or be entitled to Kuwaiti citizenship are likely to be in vain, said the official. Queries regarding why Ms. Subramani was allowed on board went unanswered.

An official of another airline said they sometimes allowed pregnant women to travel by air up to the 35th week as long as they had a medical certificate. After that, they may not be able to wear a seatbelt, which is one of the primary reasons they are barred from air travel. But should someone go into premature labour, the cabin crew is usually trained to handle the situation. If complications arise, the plane is diverted to the nearest airport, he added.

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