Montreal

Quebec woman gives birth in transit due to nurse shortage in Charlevoix

A woman from the Charlevoix region gave birth in her car Thursday night, after her local hospital redirected her to a hospital in Quebec City, nearly a two-hour drive away.

Couple had to drive to Quebec City from La Malbaie, where obstetrics dept. was closed for the weekend

The department of obstetrics at the hospital in La Malbaie is closed for the week-end, and won't be able to provide services to pregnant women until Tuesday, at midnight. (Vincent Archambault/Radio-Canada)

A woman from the Charlevoix region gave birth in her car Thursday night, after her local hospital redirected her to a hospital in Quebec City, nearly a two-hour drive away.

The department of obstetrics at the hospital in La Malbaie was closed for the weekend because there were not enough nurses on staff.

A spokesperson with the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale said the woman showed up at the emergency room in La Malbaie on Thursday night, but wasn't showing "imminent" signs that she was about to give birth.

Spokesperson Sylvie Bonneau said the decision to send the couple to Quebec City was agreed upon by doctors at both hospitals, and that the couple agreed to make the trip.

"It was really unexpected," said Bonneau.

The woman had her baby on the way — and luckily both are in good health. The woman's name has not been released to the public.

40 nurses missing

The CIUSSS issued a statement last week warning patients it had to close down the obstetrics department from Thursday, at 8 a.m. to Tuesday, at midnight, because of a worker shortage.

Bonneau said there are around 40 nurses needed in the region to provide full services to the population.

She added that in this case, staff followed the contingency plan that had been put in place.

"This kind of delivery can happen under any circumstance," said Bonneau.

The CIUSSS is actively looking to hire nurses to make sure its obstetrics unit remains open.

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