Rotorcraft Update: Wrong place, wrong time, baby's fine

 - May 8, 2008, 5:55 AM

Most medevac helicopter missions are a race against time, and when the helicopter loses, it’s usually a time for sadness. Not so in the case of Victoria and Richard Wisner of Ligonier, Pa., whose son, Nathaniel James, was born last month en route from Latrobe Hospital to Pittsburgh’s West Penn Hospital. Little Nathaniel entered this world 13 weeks premature, weighing just 2 lb 4 oz. Such a delivery would be a challenge to even the best-equipped ground-based neonatal care facility, but Jennifer Stout and Mary Ellen Russell, the nurses on board the EC 135, rose to the occasion. While aboard the airborne Life Flight helicopter, the mother delivered the boy quickly and unexpectedly, still inside an intact amniotic sac. Since the umbilical cord had detached from the mother, there was no choice but to get the baby out of the sac so it could breathe. The sac was punctured, oxygen was administered to little Nathaniel and the remainder of the flight proceeded uneventfully. “This is our first delivery in a helicopter,” said Dr. Nilima Karamchandani, West Penn’s chief of neonatology, who has practiced in Pittsburgh since 1972.