Lauren Banks, a North Carolina mom in labor, says her hospital turned her away last month despite the fact that she was having intense contractions and was ready to deliver. Her baby arrived 30 minutes later—at a gas station.
Lauren and Steve Banks were heading to CarolinaEast to deliver their second child. Lauren was 39 weeks pregnant and had severe contractions.
“She was denied admittance to labor and delivery a couple of times, and she was in obvious pain and labor, and within 30 minutes of her being home her water broke,” Steve tells WITN.
According to the couple, they were told by the hospital they could not be admitted because Lauren wasn't "dilated enough," so they returned home. They rushed back to CarolinaEast an hour later, as it was clear their son was ready to make his way into the world. The hospital is about a half-hour from the Banks' home, and, well, the baby couldn't wait that long.
“Thankfully, I was able to get a neighbor to come and watch the girls who were asleep upstairs,” Steve said. “We had to go, right then.”
Their baby boy was born in between pumps four and five at the Handy Mart gas station. According to Steve, the baby appeared to be in distress.
“I watched my wife give birth to my son right there in the parking lot,” he explained. “He came out and he was purple, and he wasn’t making a lot of noise. I was concerned on top of everything else going on.”
EMTs arrived shortly afterward and immediately sprang into action, helping the mom in labor and their baby stay on track as they drove to the hospital—CarolinaEast.
According to Steve and Lauren, the hospital offered to "detail their car" when the couple questioned them about their lapse in judgment earlier that day.
When WITN asked the hospital for a comment, they said they would not turn anyone away and that Lauren had been evaluated by an obstetrician.
“Unfortunately babies don’t always cooperate with expectations…we’ve all heard stories of newborns making debuts in homes, cars, restaurants, and even gas stations. The Banks’ baby certainly made an unexpected entrance but we are so happy he is healthy and precious and absolutely wish the family all the best!” -CarolinaEast Medical Center
As for the Banks family and their newest member, Truett Lee Banks, everyone is home and doing well. Lauren says she wants it to be clear she doesn't blame the whole hospital for her unfortunate—and avoidable—birth experience.
"In no way does this speak for the whole hospital or even one whole department, just a couple people that failed my baby and I."