West Shore RCMP officer diverts commercial flight while helping woman in premature labour

West Shore RCMP officer diverts commercial flight while helping woman in premature labour
West Shore RCMP
Mother Sadie Ussak and her newborn Larissa Ussak.

An off-duty West Shore RCMP officer stepped up on a recent commercial flight by diverting the aircraft after a passenger went into premature labour.

The event took place on February 20 when Const. Rob Renner boarded a commercial flight following a graveyard shift.

Shortly after the plane was in the air, the flight crew made an announcement requesting any doctors or nurses to identify themselves as an issue had arisen — an announcement that Const. Renner responded to having been a former nurse.

A 28-year-old woman from Nunavut had possibly gone into labour, despite being only 31 weeks pregnant, the West Shore RCMP officer recalls in a written release.

Drawing on his previous medical experience, Const. Renner took over the responsibility of the care for the 28-year-old, Sadie Ussak.

He took the woman to a safe location on the plane in an effort to ease her discomfort and help provide further medical care in a more private space.

After monitoring her contractions and determining she was in fact in labour, Const. Renner directed the pilot to divert to the nearest hospital.

At that moment, Const. Renner acknowledged the risks associated with premature labour and the limitations of their capabilities on the plane, telling the flight crew that a proper neonatal team would be essential to the infant’s survival.

He was calming me down and telling me I was going to be okay, it felt good to have him there, Ussak told West Shore RCMP officers in a recount of the incident.

The pilot managed to successfully divert the aircraft to Thompson, Manitoba where an ambulance met the flight and transported Ussak to hospital.

I was really happy to be in the right place at the right time and able to help Mrs. Ussak get to the hospital as quick as possible to have her baby, says Cst Renner.

Baby Larissa Ussak was born just after 1:00 a.m. the next morning, weighing in at 3 ½ lbs.

Both baby and mom were found to be healthy, having suffered no ill effects from Larissa’s unconventional start to life. They are now home and thriving, with quite the story to tell.

Following a nine-year stint as a registered nurse, Const. Renner joined law enforcement and has been a member of the West Shore RCMP detachment since 2020.


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