B.C. Emergency Health Services ambulance station at Langley Memorial Hospital. (Black Press files)

Firefighters may be needed for paramedic apartment access, experts say

Better coordination recommended in urban B.C. 9-1-1 calls

A woman who bled to death in her East Vancouver apartment last year could have been treated more quickly with better communication between 9-1-1 dispatchers, paramedics and the fire department, an expert review has found.

A review by two medical experts describes paramedics responding to the woman’s distress call in November 2018, where they first had trouble getting in the front door of a building. Then couldn’t get through a second set of elevators to reach her sixth-floor room, because a security fob was required.

It took 35 minutes from the original call to reaching the scene, by which time the woman had no pulse and could not be resuscitated, the report says.

The building is one of the Downtown Eastside facilities taken over and renovated by B.C. Housing, completed in 2015. It had a lock box at the entrance with keys and fob for emergency access, but access to that was available only to the Vancouver Fire Department.

RELATED: B.C. communities say ambulance priorities hurt rural areas

RELATED: Portland Hotel Society bosses travelled to Vienna, Paris

Health Minister Adrian Dix called it a “tragic case” and said his ministry will work with B.C. Emergency Health Services to implement the 14 recommendations made in the case review, by two emergency physicians. Most of them deal with better communication and coordination between firefighters and paramedics.

“The Ministry of Health will work to support the implementation and recommendations which are focused on ensuring clear and robust processes to gain rapid access to multi-unit buildings and better communication between agencies for emergency cases,” Dix said in a statement released by the ministry.

In many regions of B.C., where even 35-minute ambulance response is unlikely, B.C.’s ambulance dispatch system changes made last year have prompted debate at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this week. Those regions want more use of medically trained volunteers.

Called the “clinical response model,” the changes were made in May 2018 to respond to a rise in non-emergency calls to 9-1-1, such as vehicle accidents with no injuries.

“Under the new system, highly trained rural first responders attached to fire departments and rescue societies are being called less frequently to medical incidents in their areas, resulting in pain and suffering and risking patient lives in rural and remote areas where ambulance dispatch may be an hour or more away, the Central Kootenay Regional District says in a resolution to be discussed at the UBCM convention.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BREAKING: First arrests made at BC Legislature after demonstrators spray chalk on property

Legislature security arrested two people, allegedly for mischief

Island Food Caring launches program to tackle food insecurities

Victoria Foundation and five local grocers team to launch campaign on Feb. 27

Motion for Saanich to stand with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in pipeline debate postponed

One week delay provides more time to build community support, councillor says

Rain Walk returns Saturday to raise funds for cancer support

Rain Walk group Team Teal indebted to Inspire Health

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada’s 13th coronavirus case confirmed as husband of 12th patient

More than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the virus emerged in China

Shuswap boy wins hockey stick from NHL hero with rock, paper, scissors

Chase’s Payton Koch’s exchange with Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala caught on camera

Surrey will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

UPDATE: Son, 5, dies in hospital after crash that killed dad, older son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Most Read