Thursday 20 June 2019

Meet the doctor who helped deliver a baby girl on packed commuter train from Galway to Dublin

Dr Alan Devine came to the rescue
Dr Alan Devine came to the rescue
A woman gave birth to a baby girl on board a train travelling from Galway to Heuston this evening.

Gabija Gataveckaite

A woman gave birth to 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, Dr Devine described how it all unfolded.

"I was watching the TV show Chernobyl on my phone so I wasn't 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."

The mother and baby were then taken to Coombe Hospital - however, it might be too early for names just yet.

"When we were saying our goodbyes, I jokingly said, 'Alannah is a lovely name',  but we'll see what she's actually named," Dr Devine said.

"The important thing is, mother and baby are both well."

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.”

The baby was delivered with the help of an off duty male doctor, an American tourist and Irish Rail staff member from Croatia, according to Mr Flynn.

“There was a big cheer when we heard the arrival,” he said.

Another passenger explained that the service was packed with people travelling to a Backstreet Boys concert in the 3Arena.

“We were just told of a medical emergency so only a few on one carriage knew what happened. We all clapped when we heard she gave birth and all was well,” she told

“I heard some girls say they heard her screaming when they used the toilet… train was busy, there was a [of people] lot going to concerts,” she added.

“Mother and baby girl were taken off on stretcher, all doing well it looked,” she said.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail wished the woman and her new baby well.

When asked if the baby would receive free travel in the future, the spokesperson said it was something they would consider.

"We would certainly like to respect the woman's privacy but if that was something of interest, we would be delighted to provide that," he said.

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.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News