WHAT was supposed to be a heroic act has stirred controversies.
Amid posts and conversations circulating online about the recent incident of a passenger giving birth on board a plane, the Filipina mother clarified that it was not Bacoleño nurse Francis Dominic Mendoza who delivered her baby.
Rather, it was a team of cabin crew who really helped her surpassed the most challenging 10 minutes of her life and that of her baby, Ritchelle Rollenas said.
"I was shocked upon reading the news. Why was it reported that way? I also saw his (Mendoza) social media post. It was not really him who delivered my baby," the mother lamented.
Traveling alone, the 35-year-old overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Kidapawan City was on board a Qatar Airways flight going to the Philippines early morning of July 9, 2019.
Rollenas, in an interview with SunStar Bacolod via Facebook Messenger Sunday, July 14, 2019 said she asked a fellow passenger beside her to call for help as she is already in labor.
Rollenas said a cabin crew named "Christian" then carried and brought her in a spacious area at the front part of the plane.
Other crew members led by "Kat" then came and assisted her. After about 10 minutes, the mother said she safely gave birth to a baby boy.
"I thanked the crew for saving our lives," Rollenas said, adding that she named the child Christian Kate as a gesture of gratitude to the two cabin crew members and their team.
The mother further said that after she has fully gave birth, when the umbilical cord of the child was already cut, Mendoza then came after few more minutes.
"He (Mendoza) asked me if I am okay then I replied yes. He looked for the child and asked if he can take a photo with him (baby)," the mother claimed.
Rollenas said after taking a photo, the Bacoleño nurse stood and talked with the group of cabin crew members who assisted her.
"That's all what he did. I am conscious the whole time," she added.
Due to the incident, the plane made an emergency landing in Bangkok, Thailand.
The mother and her baby were brought to a medical facility there, and are currently staying in a hotel near the Philippine Embassy.
"(Francis) let's just be honest in order to correct the mistake and put an end to this issue," she is asking Mendoza.
In other media reports, Mendoza was quoted in his viral Facebook post with a photo of him handling the baby, saying "I have never been so happy and fulfilled as a nurse. Assisting this woman who bravely delivered a healthy baby boy inside the plane while we were in the middle of the flight was just so amazing. Nothing more!!!"
Another report quoted him, saying, "I was seated far from the woman when I noticed other passengers became uneasy. I went closer and learned about the situation so I helped her with the use of the available tools inside the plane's medical kit."
The 25-year-old nurse from Barangay Tangub in Bacolod City happened to have a connecting flight coming home from Dublin, Ireland when the incident took place.
As some are questioning his act, Mendoza came in defense pointing out that from the very beginning, "I explained that I just assisted the crew that's why I used the term assist."
He said that he was there to control the bleeding of the mother, make sure that vital signs are all stable, and ensure that the baby is well looked after birth.
Mendoza was also asked by the plane personnel if it is safe for them (mother and baby) to be traveled until the Philippines.
He told them of the risks like possible bleeding of the mother and infection as well as hypothermia for the baby, the nurse said.
"(But) it is never true that I just went there to take photos. The cabin crew called for help so I volunteered. My name, signature and licenses are all in the medical report of Qatar Airways," Mendoza said.
The Bacoleño nurse further dismissed claims that he is grabbing the credit for helping the mother and delivering the child.
"Never, I never did," he told SunStar Bacolod, adding that even in the social media post of a news outfit he commented to give credit to the cabin crew as it was a team work.
To those doubting his sincerity by bashing him on social media, Mendoza said he does not need to explain to them.
To the mother of the child, he said "if she can't appreciate me, it's fine."
"I did not help her in that situation to thank me. I helped because I needed to. If there is a chance to help her again, I would," Mendoza added.
SunStar Bacolod tried to reach one of the cabin crew named "Kat" but she refused to comment on the matter hoping that the issue will be resolved soon.
A graduate of nursing from La Union, the flight attendant for four years now has 10 years of nursing experience.