Baby dead in Alberta

Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

By Cheryl H. (Grade 12)

On Tuesday, October 28th, six kilometers from the town of Hobblema, Alberta, a 15 hour old baby died after her mother, Lorna Okeyman, gave birth to her on the side of a frozen road.

Ms. Okeyman went to the hospital Saturday after her water broke. After a doctor examined her, he sent her home because she was not in active labour.

Ms.Okeyman went into labour early Monday morning. She walked to the neighbors for help because she didn't have a phone or a car, but they were not home. She and her husband, Paul Allen, then began to walk to the hospital. They tried to flag down motorists to help them, but the their pleas were ignored.

Eventually a nurse came by and discovered the baby did not have a pulse. The baby did not make it to the hospital until two hours after her parents began seeking help.

The doctors worked on the baby for three hours trying to resuscitate her, and then she was then airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Edmonton.

She died early Tuesday morning.

The details of the case have shocked and disturbed both natives and non-natives of the community. Many people are shocked at the passing motorists. "The members of their own community. I can't understand it," said Nonnie Roth, Alberta's representative on the board of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada.

Dan Berman, a researcher with the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, said that the incident was a terrible symbol, not only of a community, but of the services available on some Canadian reserves.

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