Australian babies are being born in smoke-filled hospitals as hundreds of bushfires burn across the country
- Obstetrician Steve Robson, who works at a hospital in Canberra, Australia, told BuzzFeed News that he has delivered babies in smoke-filled delivery rooms as fires burn across the country.
- Bushfires have killed at least 20 people and half a billion animals since September, and have razed more than 9.9 million acres across five states.
- In Canberra, people were told to stay indoors last week as the air quality index hit its worst level on record.
- Robson said he fears the smoky environment could be "the new normal" for newborns being delivered in Australia.
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As hundreds of bushfires continue to burn across Australia, babies are being delivered at smoke-filled hospitals.
Steve Robson, who works as an obstetrician at a hospital in Canberra, Australia, told BuzzFeed News that early New Year's Day morning, he drove through smoke to help deliver a baby.
"I had the little spotlight that you use to look at things and it went through the smoke and we all realised that in this birth suite, this baby was born into bushfire smoke," he said. "The couple was really anxious and they said 'Look, we're really worried about what the future will look like.'"
Robson told BuzzFeed News that he also performed a Cesarean delivery on January 2.
"The mum could smell the smoke," he said. "She said, 'I don't feel so good about all of this' and I said 'to be honest I don't feel that good either.'"
Robson said he fears this could be "the new normal" for children being delivered in Australia.
"I feel it so viscerally, that you deliver a baby and you think, 'wow isn't this the greatest moment of someone's life,' and just behind it now there is this apprehension about what this child will face," he said.
Canberra faced its worst air quality level on record on January 1, The Guardian reported, and residents were told to remain indoors.
The air quality index reading in one suburb was 4,650. The air quality is considered hazardous when it hits 200.
Officials from Canberra Hospital told The Canberra Times that MRI machines couldn't run because of the smoke.
The Australian government announced a $2 billion (R28 billion) recovery fund on Monday that will help rebuild areas damaged by bushfires, which have razed more than 9.9 million acres across five states.
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