Lumsden Maternity Centre: Mum rushed at 120km/h to give birth due to no pain relief

A Southland woman was forced to travel almost 50 kilometres to give birth because the nearest facility to her wasn't equipped with pain-relieving gas. 

An email obtained by Newshub under the Official Information Act details the traumatic experience the mum had in August, all because the Lumsden Maternity Hub didn't have the pain relief she required.

The woman was forced to travel to a facility in Winton, a town about 30 kilometres north of Invercargill.

Lumsden email
The email. Photo credit: Supplied

The email was sent to Southern District Health Board (DHB) chief executive Chris Fleming by Lumsden Medical Centre general practitioner Mathew Stokes.

"This is where it gets frightening! The Husband put the woman in the back of his car & traveled at 120km/h, Sarah could hardly keep up," the email reads. 

"The weather was -2 degrees & heavy frost. On arrival in Winton, Sarah [realised] that the woman had been on the back seat on all fours totally unrestrained."

Stokes had pressed for Entonox - pain-relieving gas - to be made available at the facility in the future.

Southern DHB didn't respond to Newshub's request for comment. It also didn't clarify whether or not Entonox is now available at the facility. 

National's Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker told Newshub it shouldn't have happened, pointing blame at the new maternal and child 'hubs' model. 

The DHB revealed its decision to downgrade the centre to a hub in August 2018.

"I think it's incredibly sad this Government is forcing rural mothers, babies and fathers to break the law for the pure survival of their unborn child," Walker said. 

"We've had a select committee report which was damning. We've had two independent reports into the new failed roll out of the hub model system. 

"The DHB and the Government have reacted that they are happy with the maternity services across Southland, that mothers need to plan their births better."

The Clutha-Southland MP says full services need to be reinstated.

"The only ones that are going to save Lumsden and reinstate it are the Government ministers. Quite clearly, the DHB has made a few wrong decisions here."

Newshub previously revealed Government ministers were warned the closure of the Lumsden Maternity Centre could cause clinical risk because of the distance pregnant mums would be forced to travel to give birth.

Two independent reviews were carried out: One into four rapid births at the Hub and the other review surrounded the roll out of the maternity hubs in Southland. Both reviews raised concerns.

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