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Flying Doctor


Before helicopters were available, one UND-trained doctor used an airplane. James Mahoney, class of 1941, used his G.I. Bill to get his pilot's license, but he had to get his training at 6 in the morning. "If you are going to get a night call, it usually doesn't happen at sunrise, because they will usually wait until the office opens," he explained.

Mahoney once had a woman go into premature labor during a blizzard. She lived on remote farm, and as soon as the weather cleared enough to fly, he went to her. "I took a pilot," he wrote, "as I had learned very rapidly...I couldn't keep the airplane warm and take care of the patient too." Dr. Mahoney found the baby was ready to come, but he didn't think he could save it unless they got back to the hospital. Luckily, the first-time mother was able to hold the baby back until Mahoney got her to the delivery room, where a warm incubator was waiting. "...the baby popped out and became a big, tall, beautiful Norwegian girl," he later wrote.

Source: A doctor with wings. North Dakota, Heal Thyself. UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Press, 2005: p 86-7.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm