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Patient Care

I Heard You, She Heard You, the Baby Heard You

This post is a vent of frustration that this therapy experiment was created for.  We bring you into the action where a full ALS assignment is standing by for an international overseas flight requesting Paramedics for a woman in labor.

Most of the time this is no big deal since airlines won’t allow you to fly if you appear to be so pregnant that you’ll deliver enroute to your final destination.  As the door opened the look on the face of the crew told us this would be the rare exception.

“Did you have a live birth on board?” I ask, formally as possible.

“Yes, it’s a girl!” says the excited Purser.  He clearly has a great story to tell and I’ll hear it after I get some APGAR and vitals from mom and the baby.

As has been happening far longer than we know, mom and baby did this all on their own.  A quick thinking passenger with kids of his own inspected the placenta and put it in a bag.  Our observation matched his and we’re quickly giving mom a wipe down so she and baby can leave the plane with dignity, not covered in afterbirth.

Baby is about 4 hours old and doing just fine, we fashion a quick diaper and swaddle, making sure the EMTs without kids at home watch and learn.

When we later discussed the call and what happened immediately afterwards, everyone of the responders expected applause for mom and baby as we left the plane.

Dead. Silence.

It was Mom’s long, billowy black gown, headscarf and olive toned skin, we would soon learn, that was causing the passengers to begin to draw conclusions and assumptions about what has transpired.

Out of the plane into fresh air and mom and baby are still doing fine.  The ambulance crew arrives with a fresh, green intern and we set him loose on the patients and close the thin curtain between the customs inspection/patient care room and the jetway where the passengers are about to leave.  It’s a small area and there are a lot of us.

“Do you have a name picked out?” I ask mom soon after asking Dad for their travel documents and Passports to hand over to the Customs agent just outside.

Her answer was not Sally or Jane or anything else I recognized so I offered my congratulations and handed the documents outside.

“Enjoy your anchor baby” is heard more than once through the thin curtain as passengers begin to disembark the plane. “Good planning, enjoy free everything” is also heard and I begin to tense up.  Other disparaging comments are heard through the curtain but we can’t leave the little room just yet.

They would not have said those things if they had the facts.  Or maybe they would?

Mom has a USA Passport.  Born and raised in the midwest.  Studied overseas, fell in love, got married and is returning home to have her baby near her parents.  Baby is 4 weeks early.

Baby isn’t a citizen because Mom and Dad cheated.  Baby is a citizen because Mom is a citizen.


Have we really let things get so ugly that grown ass men will raise their voices to speak out against a woman and her newborn child simply because of her dress and complexion?


The new parents planned on renting a car and driving out to the parent’s place anyways, but first a trip to the hospital for a full exam for both and care and supplies for the drive. “Where do we even get a Car Seat?” Dad is asking, clearly still in shock of his new status in life. “Don’t worry, the hospital will give you a list of everything you need before you make the drive home.”

The drive home.

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