Shana Ferris Birth In Car Park
The occurrence on the morning of 7 December 2005 concerning Shana Ferris having difficulty gaining access to
Christchurch Women's Hospital and giving birth to her new son Te Ahu is of concern to Christchurch Women’s Hospital.
Christchurch Women’s Hospital has procedures in place to manage the late or very early arrival of expectant mothers.
Pregnancy and Parenting classes at Christchurch Women’s Hospital cover access to the building during daylight and out of
hours. A full orientation for Lead Maternity Carers (LMC) was held when the new building was opened and all relevant
procedures including after hour hours access were covered with them. It is an expectation that as part of the LMC
responsibilities under The Maternity Services notice persuant to Section 88 of the New Zealand Public Health and
Disability Act 2000 a birth plan is developed in partnership with the expectant mother.
This plan would normally include access to birthing facilities, especially if the woman, was presenting in labour. A
practice run is recommended and LMCs are encouraged to show woman around the Birthing Suite prior to labour occurring.
Ms Ferris’s LMC was familiar with Ms Ferris previous obstetric history. Ms Ferris was in hospital with her LMC in
attendance on the evening of 6 December 2005 into the early hours of 7 December 2005. Both Ms Ferris and her LMC decided
that Ms Ferris could return home, attempt to get some sleep and that she should contact her LMC if her labour
The ambulance received a ‘111’ call and advised the hospital as did the LMC. Neither call identified the entry point
expected but Birthing Suite staff were able to have Ms Ferris and her son to the Birthing Suite on the third floor from
the car within two and a half minutes of the car’s initial arrival. “I empathise with Shana Ferris and her family’s
feelings of helplessness and distress as they attempted to gain access to the hospital at an extremely stressful time”,
said Pauline Burt, General Manager of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.
“But the hospital is not going to debate this topic in public before we have spoken to all concerned and have the
“Staff have been speaking to the grandmother and those directly concerned to clarify all the facts and once the full
report is completed it will be released to the family”.
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is a Christchurch, New Zealand based hospital and healthcare provider for the
Canterbury region of New Zealand. Our region extends from Kekerengu in the North, to Rangitata in the South and Arthurs
Pass in the West and comprises the six Territorial Local Authorities of Kaikoura, Hurunui, Waimakariri, Christchurch
City, Selwyn and Ashburton.
We collaborate with other health and disability organisations, stakeholders and our community to decide what health and
disability services are needed and how to best use the funding we receive from Government to improve, promote and
protect the health, wellbeing and independence of our population.
At the Canterbury DHB, our vision is to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Canterbury.