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

Cannings to pedal through South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding

MP leaves from Nakusp on Aug. 23 and ends in Kaleden on Aug. 29.

UPDATED: MV Balfour ferry returns to service

The 65-year-old ferry had been out of action for a month

Rossland council urges minister to kill Jumbo Glacier Resort project

Mayor writes letter panning ski resort on environmental, legal, and economic grounds

Contempt charge against Balfour logging protesters dropped on technicality

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Cooper Creek Cedar failed to file a contempt application

RCMP renew request for help finding missing Nakusp man

Christopher Sanford was reported missing Aug. 5

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Victoria father charged with double murder of his daughters takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Catholic church buys $7.5M equestrian facility in B.C., plans ‘agri-retreat’ centre

Church hopes to grow crops, host students and others on Bradner property

New regulations require training for B.C. addiction recovery homes

Inspections, standards replace ‘wild west,’ Judy Darcy says

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

66% of B.C. residents want opt-out system for organ donation: poll

Support was lowest in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

Most Read