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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberni Valley fire departments hold car wash to raise funds for Wounded Warriors Run

Come out Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to learn more about the run

67th year for Port Alberni’s men’s open bonspiel

Public is welcome to cheer on teams throughout the weekend

Alberni Valley residents vent anger over proposed Beaver Creek cannabis project

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District grapples with limited authority to restrict operations

Paper Excellence, owner of Crofton mill, hit by malware

Paper production in Crofton, and other mills, impacted by incident

B.C. NDP’s throne speech speaks of benefits to B.C., says MLA Scott Fraser

Fraser agrees to meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs over pipeline

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Most Read