LISTEN: Locked doors and detours, why one baby girl was born outside the Royal Vic
A high pressure situation coupled with a misunderstanding of hospital policy ended with the incredible story of how Jasmine Culzac was born.
It started early Saturday morning when Joe Culzac's wife went in to labour. They jumped in the car expecting the drive to the Royal Victoria Hospital from Laval to only be about 15 minutes.
They were wrong.
“When we went to take the 40 from the 13 there was snow removal going on so it was totally blocked, there was no way around it at the time” Joe told the Aaron Rand show.
From there he and his wife found themselves on a route many Montrealers have become familiar with.
“When I got onto the 20 the exit to take Decarie north so I could get off at Sherbrooke right away, that was closed and also to get downtown was closed” Joe said. “So I pretty much ended up going straight towards the Champlain Bridge towards the South Shore but lucky enough I was able to get off at Atwater.”
Along the way Joe called 9-1-1 while going through the Atwater tunnel, but once he realized he wasn't too far he asked the operator to cancel the ambulance.
In the end the 15 minute drive took about 32 minutes.
Frantic and just trying to get his wife some medical help Joe stops the car and runs up to the hospital, except there was one problem.
“The door was locked” he said. “Started knocking on the door, no body came, there was no body around.”
Joe ran to the Children's Hospital door, which was also locked, and tried knocking once again. There were three nurses nearby on break but they did not open the door fast enough. The newest Culzac didn't want to wait any longer, she wanted to be born right then and there.
Joe ran back to the car where he delivered his fourth daughter in the back seat.
Joe, his wife Sylvia and Jasmine are all doing fine and hold no ill will towards the hospital.
“I do know the emergency is in the basement but the thought never crossed my mind, I was just looking for the first door possible” Joe said.
Hospital policy has some doors locked outside of regular hours for safety reasons. Pregnant women are told ahead of time how to access the Birthing Centre during off hours.
Expectant parents are informed to enter the hospital at level S1 or via the main floor door in front of security.
“It was the longest two, three minutes of my life holding her in my hands waiting for a doctor to come out but once they did, they came out” Joe said. “Dr. Perron and the three nurses … One nurse even got into the car with us after to go drive and park there.”
The family is grateful for all the medical staff who jumped in to action so quickly as soon as they saw what was happening outside.
While it may not be the smooth delivery the Culzac's were hoping for, it is a story none of them will ever forget.