Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin says long ambulance times and waiting for an ambulance that never comes has become the norm for Nova Scotians.
Lora Sonier of Fort Lawrence, Cumberland County welcomed the birth of a baby boy on August 21, 2019 at 8:55 a.m. at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. Shortly after his birth, it was discovered that he was having difficulty breathing and maintaining normal oxygen levels.
“They knew there was something wrong right away and started to monitor his levels,” says Sonier. “After a few hours, they said it would be best for him to be moved to the NICU in Moncton.”
Baby Emmett was transported shortly after 12:30 p.m. by helicopter because there was no ambulance available. Lora was still in recovery after giving birth by C-section. Her husband travelled to Moncton to be with their child while she waited for an ambulance, which she was told would be available by 3:30 p.m. That ambulance never came.
“I knew then that it wasn’t ever going to come,” says Sonier. “I don’t think I can really describe my anxiety. I didn’t know if my son was okay, and I was waiting for an ambulance that wasn’t ever going to come.”
Every two hours, she was told it would be another two hours. By 10:30 p.m., her doctor finally gave her permission to leave with her husband in their own car.
Smith-McCrossin says this story is sadly one of many that speaks to the crisis in healthcare across the province.
“This woman missed precious bonding between a mother and her child – time she won’t ever get back,” says Smith-McCrossin. “The Liberal government needs to open their eyes and realize that ambulances are the difference between life and death. If there’s such a shortage that they can’t transport a mother separated from their baby, how can they explain what will happen when the situation is life or death.”