Mother Gives Birth to Very Rare Identical Quadruplets

Amazingly, the quads were conceived naturally, odds of 1 in 13 million. However, even more shocking is that the mom, who’s Canadian, had to give birth in Montana because not one neonatal unit in any Canadian hospital had the room to handle identical quadruplets. However, Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana, population 50,000, did. From the BBC:

The four girls were born at a US hospital because there was no space available at Canadian neonatal intensive care units.

Karen Jepp and her husband JP, of Calgary, were taken to a Montana hospital where the girls were delivered two months early by Caesarean section.

Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia are in good condition at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana.

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.

This is what happens with socialized medicine. Because the government has a limited amount of money to spend on health care, it only has a limited amount of beds to offer. Consequently, the Canadian government was forced to fly her to the US to give birth:

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.

Question: where would have Mrs. Jepps given birth if America and her vastly more accessible health care system weren’t available right next door? If the US goes to a universal health care system, we, too, will find ourselves with a government that has a limited amount of money to spend on health care and, therefore, limited space. Mark Steyn comments at The Corner:

Well, you can’t expect a G7 economy of only 30 million people to be able to offer the same level of neonatal ICU coverage as a town of 50,000 in remote rural Montana. And let’s face it, there’s nothing an expectant mom likes more than 300 miles in a bumpy twin prop over the Rockies.

As an expectant mom of just one baby, that sounds like hell.

Update: Bob Leibowitz points us to a Globe and Mail article that explains that Canada is using US hospitals more and more as back up for those mothers who go into labor prior to 32 weeks:

Ms. Jepp’s case highlights the increasing tendency for Canadian women with high-risk pregnancies to be sent to the United States to give birth, a development some attribute to an increase in the number of premature births, a nursing shortage and a stretched health-care system.

With no beds available in their home province or nearby, expectant mothers going into labour before 32 weeks gestation (when babies need the highest level of neonatal intensive care) are often sent by air ambulance to hospitals in Washington, Montana, Michigan and New York.


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