— UCLA Health (@UCLAHealth) October 14, 2015
If you’re going to go into labor 30,000 feet into the air and hours from your destination, you’re probably going to hope that — in the absence of an obstetrician — one of your fellow passengers will be a resident physician in internal medicine-pediatrics, who graduated from medical school at the top of her class.
That was the case on October 8, when a heavily pregnant woman on an Air China flight, bound for Los Angeles from Taiwan, began experiencing “abdominal pain” over the Pacific Ocean. Angelica Zen responded to a call by flight attendants for any doctors on board and made her honeymoon, from which she was returning, just that bit more memorable. “Everything seemed surreal, especially since I had just woken up,” she told UCLA’s Newsroom. “I thought, ‘This is so weird.’ This is definitely not in my job description.”
“From the pediatric side, we’re in the delivery room if there are complications. But we’re not usually involved in the process of getting [a baby] out. So I’m very comfortable with babies, although in this case we didn’t have any of the equipment we have in the hospital.”
A makeshift tent was constructed from blankets to afford the woman some privacy and Zen — along with the passenger, who was traveling alone — went to work, delivering a healthy baby girl after 3.5 hours, to the applause of passengers.
“It was pretty emotional,” said passenger Willie Tipp, who was returning to L.A. from a surfing trip and was seated nearby. “I’ve never seen a baby born before. The whole time I was thinking, ‘This is the kind of stuff that happens in the movies.’”
Aptly, Zen, he reported, remained calm and attentive throughout.
Read the full story at UCLA Newsroom.