I don't know which of the following statements is more surprising. From the AP:
A 35-year-old Canadian woman has given birth to rare identical quadruplets, officials at a Great Falls hospital said Thursday. Karen Jepp of Calgary, Alberta, delivered Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia by Caesarian section Sunday afternoon at Benefis Healthcare, said Amy Astin, the hospital's director of community and government relations.Wonderful. And this part:
The four girls were breathing without ventilators and listed in good condition Thursday, she said.
The Jepps drove 325 miles to Great Falls for the births because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity, Key said.For those of you unclear on the geography, their trip looked something like this and would take about five hours at the posted speed limits. About halfway through the trip, they would pass through Lethbridge, which is home to Chinook Regional Hospital, which claims to offer a "high level neonatal intensive care unit." Not good enough? No beds there either? When they were in Lethbridge, they were about an hour away from Medicine Hat, home to this fine institution and its NICU, or two and a half hours plus a border crossing away from Great Falls. They chose the latter.
"The difficulty is that Calgary continues to grow at such a rapid rate. ... The population has increased a lot faster than the number of hospital beds," he said.
UPDATE (8/20): At the prompting of a commenter, I found that the doctor's statement about them driving the 325 miles is incorrect, and so too is my travelogue in the last paragraph of the original post (now italicized). Here is a report from the BBC that explains:
A medical team and space for the babies had been organised for the Jepp family at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary but several other babies were born unexpectedly early, filling the neonatal intensive care unit.
Health officials said they checked every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada but none had space.
The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician were flown 500km (310 miles) to the Montana hospital, the closest in the US, where the quadruplets were born on Sunday.
My apologies for the hasty and incorrect post, though this notion that "every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada" had no space is more of an indictment of the system than my original remarks.