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Premature Infant Boy Born Aboard Airliner

August 15, 1986

CHICAGO (AP) _ When an airline passenger discovered that her baby was arriving prematurely, passengers delivered him with the aid of dental floss and a butter knife.

Tammy Martin, 20, of Mt. Clemmens, Mich., gave birth to a 3-pound, 8 1/2 -ounce boy on the cabin floor of a Boeing 727 en route from Phoenix, Ariz., to Detroit on Wednesday.

Passengers cheered the first cries of the infant, named James Good Hope Sky Martin because he was born over Good Hope, Ill.

″I was embarrassed,″ Mrs. Martin said Thursday.

Republic Airlines Flight 586 made an unscheduled landing in Chicago, and a waiting ambulence whisked mother and child to Resurrection Hospital, where she was in good condition Thursday.

The baby - two months premature - was in serious condition with respiratory distress, common to premature infants, said hospital spokesman Warren Nelson.

But he was doing well, Nelson said, adding the infant probably would stay at the hospital 30 days.

When Mrs. Martin realized her baby was about to be born, a call went out for a physician, and it turned out an obstetrician-gynecologist, a nurse and a paramedic were on board, Nelson said.

″She was in intensive labor for 30 minutes,″ said Nelson. ″She lay on the cabin floor in the back of the plane and delivered the baby.″

He said her medical team ″used dental floss to tie the umbilical cord and cut it with a butter knife. She had excellent attention.″

Neither the hospital nor the airline could provide the names of those who helped with the delivery.

The infant’s father, ironworker Thomas Martin, drove all night from Detroit to join his family, Nelson said.

″It’s happened before, but it doesn’t happen often,″ said Bob Gibbons, a spokesman at Republic’s Minneapolis headquarters. ″Usually it happens on longer flights.″

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