Some Canadian mothers forced to give birth in U.S.

Some Canadian mothers forced to give birth in U.S. »Play Video
SEATTLE -- A problem in Canada's hospitals is sending scores of pregnant women south of the border to have their babies.

Carri Ash of Chilliwack, B.C. was sent to the U.S. to have her baby after her water broke on Sunday, ten weeks ahead of schedule.

"And they came in and said 'you're going to Seattle,'" she said.

Ash's hospital couldn't handle the high-risk pregnancy. Doctors searched for another hospital bed, but even hospitals in Vancouver, B.C. didn't have a neo-natal bed.

"So two provinces didn't have enough room, so I have to go to another country," said Ash.

Ash was sent to Swedish Medical Center where, nurses told KOMO 4 News, five Canadian women have come to have their babies in the past six weeks. Some were even airlifted at up to $5,000 per flight.

And a woman from Calgary, one of the wealthiest cities in Canada, had to travel to Montana to give birth to her identical quadruplets.

"We always regret when we have to transfer a baby or mother to another jurisdiction for care," said Canada's Health Minister George Abbott.

Aidan Nassey was born premature in Canada and developed breathing problems before his mother could even hold him.

"It was terrifying. And he was taken away and that was it," said Courtney Nassey, his mother.

There wasn't a hospital in western Canada that could take in Aidan, and a helicopter had to rush them to Seattle.

Vicki Irvine crossed the border to see her daughter, Carri Ash, give birth.

"You can't even have a baby near home. It's horrible," she said.

Irvine and Ash are questioning Canada's priorities when it comes to health care spending.

"I think it's ridiculous that we can have the Olympics but not enough beds so I can have a baby," said Ash.

The family says there is one benefit to their neo-natal nightmare -- the newborn will have dual citizenship and, so far, they like what they see on this side of the border.