A doctor and several nurses were the heroes of the hour when he helped deliver a baby girl on board a train travelling from Galway to Dublin on Tuesday evening.
Fellow passengers, including off-duty doctor Alan Devine, a nurse and ambulance crew came to the woman’s aid after she went into labour on the 15:05 service from Galway to Heuston Station.
Dr Alan Devine, who is from Donegal, was on his way to a conference when the train came to a halt in Co Kildare.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Dr Devine said he was watching the TV show Chernobyl on his phone so was not paying attention. But when the train had stopped for a while I took the earphone out and asked the woman next to me what the delay was,” he said.
When he realised what was happening, he rushed along to assist the woman. However, she already had some help from three women - an American nurse, an Irish nurse in her 20s and another woman who rang the ambulance.
“The three ladies did extremely well and they helped the lady with the breathing and encouraged her a lot,” said Dr Devine. “I asked the catering lady on the train for a pair of gloves and that was all we had, I wasn’t on call so I didn’t have any of my stuff with me,” he said.
“It was a key moment when the baby came out, it took a couple of seconds but she finally let out a big cry and so we knew everything was okay,” he said.
The ambulance crew arrived almost immediately after the delivery, and the baby was wrapped in the American tourist’s blanket.
“It was very unexpected, it’s not the norm for me at all as I’m just as a GP,” Dr Devine said.
“We all helped each other.
“It was really respectful and nobody was knocking on doors or complaining that it was taking too long, and we were there a while,” he said.
The train stopped at Kildare Station at around 5pm and emergency services were notified.
A part of the carriage was sectioned off to ensure privacy for the woman and she gave birth in the area in between carriages.
Glass doors were locked by staff and Irish Rail employees held up a blanket to protect her privacy.
Ambulance services later arrived and helped to deliver the baby on board.
The train remained at Kildare Station for 80 minutes and ambulance crew then took the newborn and her mum to hospital.
Fellow passenger Ciarán Flynn was on the same carriage as the woman who gave birth. He explained that the lady went into labour shortly after the train left Galway.
“The woman in question had passed me a couple of times back and forth,” he said.
“She seemed uncomfortable but I didn’t notice she was pregnant.”
Suddenly, a passenger that was sitting close to the lady who gave birth came back from the bathrooms and started asking other passengers for blankets.
A staff member was quick to react and notified the driver and about 20 minutes later a doctor was identified on the train.
“The Iarnrod Eireann staff closed off the door manually with some special key and stood there holding a blanket as a screen while the doctor and helpers got on with it,” he explained.
“Everyone was respectful and there was a lot of consideration for the poor lady’s privacy, given the situation.”
In France, a woman’s newborn was offered free rail travel throughout Paris up until the age of 25 after the mother gave birth on a commuter train.