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Grandma speaks out on baby's death in B.C. hospital
The family of a mother who gave birth to a stillborn baby in Victoria this month is echoing concerns about the need for anesthesiologists dedicated to B.C. obstetrics wards.
Erna Turrie was in the delivery room at Victoria General Hospital when her granddaughter's baby began showing signs of distress.
"I started feeling panicky, and I knew something was wrong," she told CTV News.
"When I asked the doctor at that time why didn't they give her a cesarean when the first red flag went up, she said it was because she didn't have an anesthesiologist."
When the decision to perform a C-section was made, Turrie's granddaughter had to be moved to the operating room and an anesthesiologist was called in from home. The baby didn't survive the delivery.
"I held the baby and I made her a promise I was going to find out, I'm going to get the bottom of this," Turrie said.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority has said the delay in performing the procedure was about 10 minutes, but Turrie says it took much longer than that.
"It was a half an hour the baby was stuck in the birthing canal, and I knew, I panicked, I felt heartsick because that was too long, as far as I was concerned," she said.
Dr. Sue Ferreira, a senior anesthesiologist, says the health authority was warned a year-and-a-half ago about the tragic consequences of not having an anesthesiologist dedicated to the obstetrics ward.
"The issue is that B.C. does not come up to the national guidelines when it comes to coverage of high-risk obstetric suites with dedicated obstetric anesthesia," she said.
Both the province and the health authority support providing hospitals with obstetrics anesthesiologists, but say the doctors won't work for the money offered.
The BC Medical Association, which negotiates on behalf of anesthesiologists, says this kind of discussion shouldn't be playing out in the media.
"Certainly the way it's being brought about is perhaps not something that BCMA would condone," said Dr. Nasir Jetha, the association's president.
The BC Coroners Service says it will not investigate the death because it was a stillbirth. The health authority is reviewing the incident internally.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Brent Shearer