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HomeNewsStaff shortages led to baby's delivery on roadside: Meadow Lake mother

Staff shortages led to baby’s delivery on roadside: Meadow Lake mother

“It should have never happened,” says Kendal Carlberg, who gave birth on the side of the highway in Paradise Hill.

Staff shortages at the Meadow Lake Hospital are being cited by the mother of two as the reason she was sent to Lloydminster while in labour and eventually gave birth in an ambulance on the highway.

About a year ago, Carlberg and her husband were at home in Meadow Lake when about 2 a.m. she started having contractions and her water broke. They were aware of staff shortages at the local hospital, but they were not expecting their second child for about another two weeks.

She says they were told at the hospital that they could drive to Lloydminster which is about 186 km away; about a two-hour drive. She says her husband was told they could make it in their car and there was no need to speed. She says unfortunately they did not get to Lloydminster before the contractions took over.

“My husband, bravely and without choice, was now the doctor and the nurse and began listening to the 911-operator to deliver our baby. The thoughts in my head were terrifying. Our first child was born via C-section in Meadow Lake due to complications. So all I could think was our baby was going to die on the side of the highway. When the ambulance showed up we hopped in. And Maggie was born less than two-minutes later, thankfully with no complications.”

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She said “it was very relieving to get to Lloydminster”, but that it should never have happened. She is thankful to the EMTs from St. Walburg whom she says “came as quickly as they could.”

Her comments come as the Saskatchewan NDP is continuing to call on the province to deal with staff shortages at health institutions. They say the Meadow Lake Hospital has been facing “ongoing disruptions, including disruptions to obstetrical care, on account of physician and nurse shortages.” Also as of August, labouring patients are being sent to Lloydminster and North Battleford.

To further highlight the staff shortages, the NDP cites the Ministry of Health’s annual statistical report that Saskatchewan’s rate for retaining OB’s and anesthesiologists is 20% and 50%, respectively.

Carlberg says these shortages should not be happening in the province.

“Our hospital should have been opened to help me, my baby and my husband have a safe delivery. And traveling and being denied healthcare, should have never happened. Our province and our government need to address the shortages within our healthcare system and the people that are currently working are overworked and they need support with more people.”

She says they need better access to healthcare in rural and northern parts of Saskatchewan.

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