Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mountain Rescue Team Delivers Baby in the Alps

It has been a rough summer in the Alps. Earlier this week, the bodies of six climbers were found near Mont Blanc, bringing the total fatalities to 14 in the past month alone. With that grim news, I felt it was time for an uplifting story instead. One that isn't about death, but birth.

Outside Online is reporting that a team of mountain rescuers had to climb up to a remote mountain hut in Austria's Tyrol region to assist a woman who had gone into premature labor. The woman was 24-weeks pregnant when she set out on her alpine trek, and was at an altitude of about 8200 feet (2500 meters) when she went into labor.

Initially, the search and rescue squad had thought to send a helicopter to retrieve the woman, but early morning fog prevented that flight from happening. So, 15 members of the team, accompanied by a doctor and a gynecologist, scaled the mountain to lend a hand. When they got to the hut, they then assisted the woman in descending 800 feet (244 meters) to a mountain meadow. By that point, she had been in labor for 11 hours, and no doubt weak from her efforts, and in considerable pain. It was there that she gave birth to a baby boy.

Not long after the birth, weather conditions improved, and both mother and child were evacuated from the mountain via helicopter. The baby was sent to a neonatal clinic to receive specialized treatment, and is reportedly in stable condition. Considering he is roughly three months premature, it'll probably be some time before he can go home, but the prognosis is good.

Outside says that a total of 25 rescuers, 4 doctors, and 2 helicopters were involved with the birth. I guess this kid will have one heck of a story to share with friends in the future. It also makes you wonder if this baby was born to be a mountaineer. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

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