Sunday 26 May 2019

Destiny's birth on ship deck a first for Navy doctors

A child is helped to disembark from LÉ Niamh at Palermo harbour in Sicily, Italy, yesterday
A child is helped to disembark from LÉ Niamh at Palermo harbour in Sicily, Italy, yesterday
LE Niamh
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Aa a location for giving birth, the deck of the Lé Niamh is "not ideal", in the words of the ship's medic Paul O'Connell.

However, that's precisely where baby Destiny was born after her mother Grace was rescued by the Irish ship, which is on life-saving patrol in the Mediterranean.

The little girl's arrival on Tuesday evening wasn't just a first for the Irish Navy, it was also a first for the two medics that delivered her.

Mum and baby are said to be "doing well" having been dropped to a port in Italy, where they have been transferred to a hospital for post-natal care.

Grace (23) was one of several pregnant women among the hundreds of migrants leaving Africa in makeshift boats that have been rescued.

Lead medic O'Connell (38) explained how the heavily pregnant Nigerian woman received special attention from the moment she boarded.

"When the woman embarked she was complaining of pains, so myself and the other medics on board were just keeping a very close eye on her," he said.

"She had told us that she was nine months and that she was due any day."


Paul and another medic - army Corporal Conor Kilbride from Dublin - swung into action when she went into labour and a section of the deck was cordoned off.

"It all happened so quickly after that. The baby was out before we knew it. You kick into gear and remember things (from training) and, thankfully, it all went fine," said Paul.

"To have a pregnancy and to deliver a birth in the conditions we were in I think is a great achievement. It's not the ideal location, but we just did our job.

"Baby Destiny and mammy were in very good health leaving us last night."

"It was a hectic time, but everything went well," Corporal Kilbride (36), said.

"I'm over the moon. It took me a long time to calm down and actually get some sleep afterwards."

Ship captain, Commander Ken Minehane, also spoke of his pride after the delivery.

Separately, Defence Minister Simon Coveney announced that the third new ship for the Naval Service will be called LÉ William Butler Yeats, after the world-renowned Irish poet, literary figure and Nobel Laureate.

When delivered in July 2016 the designated ship captain will be Lieutenant Commander Eric Timon.

Irish Independent

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