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Baby Ali flies high

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Flight attendants of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) aboard a Manila-bound plane from Dubai assisted a passenger who went into labor and gave birth to a baby 38,000 feet above sea level amid a pandemic.

Named Ali, the boy was delivered on board PR 659 on 6 June, with the guidance of a doctor through satellite phone.

In Arabic, his name means “elevated” or “most high.”

In a Facebook post, PAL second officer Fidel Guzman Ala said he had to call the doctor through radio satellite phone since there was no medical professional aboard the plane, and to “carefully” relay instructions to the cabin attendants delivering the baby.

“To me, that felt a tad terrifying. One misinterpretation of the doctor’s instructions would spell out a person’s doom or destiny,” he said.

“I had to ask and re-ask the doctor on the line if I understood him correctly. I now recognize the efforts of those who went through medical school. Who would have thought that in my lifetime, I would have to relay the step-by-step procedure and instructions for cutting an umbilical cord? I had to draw a diagram and re-ask the doctor again and again just to be sure,” Ala shared.

The flight deck, headed by captain Mark Palomares, landed the plane at the nearest airport — Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand — to ensure the mother and child could get immediate medical attention after the baby was born.

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