Quebec Health and Social Services Minister Danielle McCann responds to reporters questions after she tabled a report on end of life care, Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Quebec health minister promises changes after woman gives birth in car

The woman was forced to give birth in a car after having to transfer hospitals

Quebec’s health care network will change its policies after a pregnant woman was forced to transfer hospitals last week and delivered her baby in a car, Health Minister Danielle McCann said Monday.

Angelique Lauzier and her partner went to their local hospital in La Malbaie, in Quebec’s Charlevoix region, when she began experiencing irregular contractions. But the couple was told to drive almost two hours south to Quebec City because the obstetrics unit had been temporarily closed due to a staff shortage.

Lauzier gave birth about 15 minutes from their destination, her partner told a local radio station. In response, McCann told reporters from now on, an ambulance will be used to transfer pregnant women who are near giving birth.

READ MORE: Woman gives birth on B.C. highway with help of teen daughter

Lauzier’s partner, Jean-Francois Dandurand, told radio station 98.5 FM his spouse’s contractions intensified soon after they left La Malbaie, and her water broke midway through the late-night journey.

“I had no choice but to (keep going),” he told the station. ”I tried to help my partner as much as I could, and on the other hand I tried to concentrate on the road.”

He said the mother and baby are doing well, but he feels the hospital should have offered the family more support. “She was at 40 weeks and two days (pregnant), so the birth was imminent,” he said. ”It seems to me that an ambulance should have simply been a priority.”

McCann told a news conference in Montreal that when women are close to giving birth and need to change hospitals, “it’s very important that there’s an ambulance to accompany them.”

The temporary closure of La Malbaie’s birthing services reflects a province-wide problem of labour shortages. Hospitals across Quebec are struggling to recruit personnel.

On Monday, thousands of Quebec nurses refused to work mandatory overtime during a one-day job action to highlight working conditions they say have led to burnout and compromised patient care.

Annie Ouellet, a spokeswoman for the regional health centre that includes the La Malbaie hospital, said labour shortages are especially acute in the regions.

READ MORE: Kids rescue elderly woman who fell, was left lying outside home for 10 hours

She said the hospital had no choice but to close its birthing ward for five days due to a lack of specialized nurses. The centre is scheduled to reopen Monday at midnight.

“Currently, we are looking for five obstetrician nurses at La Malbaie hospital as well as nearly 40 nurses to work in Charlevoix (region),” she said in a phone interview.

Ouellet said the health system is doing everything it can to meet the shortage, including recruiting abroad, calling back nurses from retirement and offering to retrain any nurses who are interested in obstetrics.

She confirmed that any pregnant women who need to be transferred to Quebec City in the future will be taken by ambulance.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Stetski talks up NDP election platform

NDP candidate for Kootenay-Columbia riding outlines election ‘commitments’ to Canadian voters

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Golden’s weekly news recap

This week’s top stories

MP warns of scam after catching Facebook Messenger imposter account

Wayne Stetski issues warning about an imposter messenger account that is using his profile photo

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Most Read