Quick-acting Montreal dad delivers son at hospital when staff fails to show

Mark Schouls is no doctor but the Montrealer had no choice but to wing it when his son came into the world with little notice and no hospital staff in sight.

Mark Schouls and Karine Lachapelle hold their baby Kristophe in Montreal on Monday June 1

MONTREAL — Mark Schouls is no doctor but the Montrealer had no choice but to wing it when his son came into the world with little notice and no hospital staff in sight.

Schouls and his common-law wife, Karine Lachapelle, arrived at Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital last month believing they had plenty of time to spare because their child was due the following day.

A doctor who saw the couple on the evening of May 12 was convinced the mother would give birth late next morning so Lachapelle, 33, was left in the prenatal wing of the hospital.

However, baby Kristophe had other ideas and was making it clear he wanted out.

Schouls, 40, said the couple rang for a nurse several times but that no one came to see them.

“About 4:55 a.m. I started pressing the call button,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “The nurse came by the door and poked her head inside and said ‘I’ll be with you in a little bit.”’

Ten minutes later, the labour pains intensified and Schouls knew something wasn’t right.

“I don’t know how many times I pushed that button, but it was quite a bit,” he said.

Then his wife told him she could feel the head.

“First of all I freaked,” said Schouls.

“Then I just reached down and put my hand on his chest and I put my other hand on his head and just pulled him out.”

Once he heard his son cry and was certain he was breathing on his own, Schouls went racing down the hallway looking for help.

When a hospital staff member asked him if he would like to cut the umbilical cord, Schouls, still in shock, joked he’d have to finish the job.

Schouls said his son, who was born six pounds five ounces, is doing well, as is Lachapelle.

“You hear about these stories time and time again — giving birth in a cab or what have you,” said Schouls.

“But you never think it’s going to happen to you,” he added, especially not in a hospital setting.

A hospital official says the incident is being investigated.

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