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Woman gives birth on park bench outside Quebec hospital after finding main doors locked

The Sainte-Croix hospital's main entrance is always locked overnight. Hospital authorities say they will modify the signs there to make sure patients clearly understand where to go when it's closed.   (Martin Chabot/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The Sainte-Croix hospital's main entrance is always locked overnight. Hospital authorities say they will modify the signs there to make sure patients clearly understand where to go when it's closed. (Martin Chabot/Radio-Canada - image credit)

A woman ended up giving birth outside the locked doors of the Sainte-Croix hospital in Drummondville, Que., early Tuesday morning in a turn of events Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé has since called "unacceptable."

The woman, her husband and two-year-old son mistakenly showed up at the hospital's main entrance instead of heading to the emergency department, a five-minute walk away.

A security guard working inside the building spotted the family and tried redirecting them with hand signals but did not open the door. It wasn't until a patient alerted staff on the fifth floor that two nurses rushed outside to help the woman as she gave birth on a park bench.

In a statement to Radio-Canada, authorities at the CIUSS de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec said they're looking into what happened. They said the security guard "was removed from work for failing to assist in this situation" and will no longer be assigned to any of their facilities.

The vice-president of the security agency Radar Sécurité, Éric Cantin, said the employee did not properly evaluate the situation. "From his point of view, he didn't see the distress in the person's behaviour," he told Radio-Canada.

Dubé said hospital authorities have apologized to the woman and her family and have put in place clarifying measures.

The hospital says the main entrance is always locked overnight for security reasons and that no other incidents have been reported in relation to this. Patients at that entrance can also communicate with staff through an intercom.

Still, the hospital says it will modify its signs so they clearly indicate to patients where to go when the doors are locked.