TITUSVILLE, Fla. – The Titusville family of the baby born 14 weeks early during a mid-air Southwest Airlines flight last week says the infant is stabilizing but faces a long, expensive journey of long-term medical care.
The aunt of the boy – named “Jet” by his parents – has already set up a gofundme.com page to help raise awareness and money to help the mother, a nurse at Parrish Medical Center, and the father, a mechanic, offset the mounting medical costs.
“Baby Jet is doing pretty good right now. He’s had a few ups and downs but doctors say that’s pretty much expected for a baby born prematurely,” said Lisa Barber, the child’s aunt who also lives in Titusville.
Barber says her 33-year-old sister, the child’s mother, was expected to be discharged today and will be living temporarily in the vicinity of the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital in Charleston where the boy was taken after the flight was diverted from Philadelphia. The family was in the Philadelphia area earlier this month for a baby shower.
Hospital officials said Jet remained in critical condition. He was born at 26 weeks and is being treated in the facility's neonatal intensive care unit.
“I just know these two will have a lot of expenses. The support has been so overwhelming,” Barber told News 6 partner Florida Today.
Jet arrived Dec. 4 during a Southwest Airlines flight about 30,000 feet in the air. A Palm Bay doctor teamed up with another emergency room doctor and an Orlando nurse to help with the special delivery.
“There are certain things where you don't know why it happens ... it was meant to be where I was just going to be on this flight and I was happy that I could be of help," said Dr. Bhasker Patel, who spoke to Florida Today.
“They made another announcement if there were any medical doctors on the plane. They had the baby wrapped in a blanket…And the little baby popped his eye open and that was an emotional moment to see and my eyes were wider than the baby’s eyes at that point,” he said.
Patel and the other medical crew placed an oxygen mask on the crown of the child’s head so he could get oxygen. The baby’s color soon moved from blue to pink, Patel recalled.
Patel had been returning from India when he caught a connecting flight from Philadelphia. The flight diverted to Charleston.
Baby Jet, along with his mother, were met at the airport by a pediatric care medical staff and rushed to the Medical University of South Carolina’s neonatal intensive care unit.
The baby was placed on a ventilator.
The baby, who could be heard screaming and crying aboard the flight in a video posted on social media, was born 14 weeks early and weighed just over 2 pounds at birth. The baby’s blood pressure was stable but he appeared to be battling an infection, hospital officials initially reported.
The child’s mother has not commented publicly.
“Everything happened right at the right time,” Barber said.
How to help
The gofundme page can be found at GoFundMe.com.
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