Doctor delivers baby on plane after woman goes into early labor

LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles doctor on an overseas flight was coming home from her honeymoon when she delivered a baby on the plane.

While 30,000 feet in the air, the mother went into labor six hours into a China Air flight from Taiwan to Los Angeles.

Flight attendants asked if there was a doctor on board when UCLA resident physician Dr. Angelica Zen and her husband were on their way back from their honeymoon in Bali.

"My training is in internal medicine pediatrics so we do adults and kids but really no pregnant woman at all, so since my training we haven't done much OBGYN," said Zen. "I was a little bit nervous."

Zen had never delivered a baby by herself, but she didn't hesitate to help.

Meanwhile, instead of continuing to California, the captain changed course and headed to the nearest airport, which was Anchorage, Alaska, three hours away.

Zen speaks Mandarin and was able to talk to the mother as well.

"I had very limited supplies with me and it was very difficult," said Zen. "We had to work under very constrained circumstances."

She said the flight attendants were like her stand-in nurses, and most of the passengers were asleep until the cabin lights came on for the delivery.

It's unclear if the baby was born within a 12 mile radius of Alaska which, by law, would make her a U.S. citizen.

"I was relieved the baby looked very healthy," Zen said. "And I was very happy for the mom as well."
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