A couple from Stockholm, Sask, said they would be skeptical about taking their three children to Yorkton Regional Hospital after they were turned away shortly before the birth of their now one-month-old.
Tara Luce, 28, says she started having irregular contractions on Dec. 20 around 8 a.m. CST. It was a very cold day, with the mercury lingering around 40°C.
She and her husband, Mitchell, made the 45-minute drive to Yorkton and arrived at the hospital around 2 p.m
“They told me to go shopping or to dinner, as everything seemed fine, but the contractions were everywhere,” said Tara.
The two strolled around the mall in Yorkton, rather than head back to Stockholm, and then headed back to the hospital around 6 p.m.
“My contractions were six to eight minutes apart. When they examined me, I was only three centimeters [dilated]They were told to go home or check into a hotel.”
“My contractions were bringing me to the knees in the hospital, so we went to my new mom’s house [in Yorkton]. “
Tara took a warm shower to relax as her contractions grew stronger.
“After that, I was resting on the bedroom floor. Suddenly, I felt pain. I told my brother and my husband to call 911 now,” Tara said.
Minutes later, her water broke.
“It all happened quickly.”
EMS was restricted on another call, so paramedics didn’t arrive before delivery.
“Even if EMS hadn’t made another call, I doubt they would have gotten there because it happened so quickly,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said he was scared and shocked to see everything progressing so quickly. Fortunately, a 911 operator coached him through the steps—from delivering the baby to cutting the umbilical cord—and soon their son was born, right on the bedroom floor of the cottage.
“I was shaking and in shock for another day,” he said. But it was a miracle.
Tara said it was 6:43 p.m. when they left the hospital and baby Lincoln was born by 8 p.m.
“If we had kept the hospital two or three hours longer, it would have made a huge difference, because they didn’t, it was a nightmare,” Mitchell said.
“It was a crazy experience. A story to remember for the rest of our lives, that’s for sure.”
When the EMS finally came around, they helped Tara deliver the placenta, then took the mother and baby to the hospital for checkups.
The couple later gets a $750 bill for the ambulance. They said the health department later apologized for the treatment the couple received when they first went to the hospital and waived half of the $750 bill.
To ensure redress for a family experiencing a birth or emergency after childbirth, the Saskatchewan government has implemented a Maternal and Child Fee Policy to establish consistency in how families are billed for an ambulance ride, effective March 31, 2014, the Department of Health said in a statement Wednesday.
“The family will receive an invoice for one patient (the mother), and the Ministry of Health will finance the cost of the second patient (the newborn),” the statement said.
“The Ministry of Health understands that the family received an ambulance bill for both the mother and the child in error. Once this was discovered, the child’s bill was transferred to the Ministry of Health for payment.”
The couple said it was nice to receive a “simple apology” from the hospital’s maternity ward. Tara said she wants to choose a different hospital for her children, but with limited emergency and healthcare providers, she doesn’t have much of a choice.
They also said that they did not think they would have any more children after this experience.
CBC has reached out to Yorkton Regional Hospital about whether there has been an apology, but staff declined to comment.
“People are being kept away from hospitals, not just pregnant women, it just shows what a crazy world it has become. Things need to change,” Mitchell said.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said in an emailed statement Wednesday that it cannot comment on specific cases or individuals due to privacy legislation.
“Each patient is evaluated independently with consultation and guidance from obstetricians and gynecologists. Determination of the next steps in the care plan is based on physician recommendation and medical evaluations,” the statement read.
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