Ambulance wait time described as ‘ridiculous, unacceptable’

  • Jul. 17, 2014 5:00 a.m.

An injured logger waited at the Queen Charlotte helicopter landing pad for 41 minutes last week before an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital a couple of kilometres away.That’s because no ambulance was available in Queen Charlotte, says village administrator Peter Weeber, so one had to be sent over from Sandspit.The incident happened on Tuesday, July 8. Helijet rescued the injured man from his work site and brought him to Queen Charlotte. RCMP and local firefighters were called out to assist with the transport and were waiting on the tarmac when the helicopter arrived at 3 pm, Mr. Weeber said.The patient waited in the helicopter until the ambulance got there about 40 minutes later, he said. Luckily, the man did not have life-threatening injuries, he said, or the outcome could have been very different.”It’s pretty ridiculous,” he said. “RCMP, the helicopter pilot, we all sat there, and that patient sat there from 3 pm to 3:41 pm before he could be taken to the Queen Charlotte hospital… It’s not acceptable.”An ambulance could have come from Queen Charlotte in a matter of minutes but there was no staff available that day, Mr. Weeber said. Lately, the Queen Charlotte ambulance station has been staffed only about 50 percent of the time, he said. Other ambulance stations in rural communities face the same issue, because BC Ambulance relies on community volunteers to fill these positions. Although the ambulance workers are paid when called out, there is no guarantee of work and most of them have other full-time jobs.”This is a problem that has been ongoing and ongoing,” Mr. Weeber said. “We keep bringing this up with the Ministry of Health and the BC Ambulance Service.”The problem could be solved if the ambulance service hired a full-time person at the Queen Charlotte station to help out, he said.It’s strange that BC Ambulance is able to get away with providing patchwork service in remote communities, Mr. Weeber said, service that would not be considered adequate anywhere else in BC.”I don’t know if it would be acceptable for the RCMP to show up only 50 percent of the time, or for the fire department to show up 50 percent of the time, or if the toilets didn’t flush 50 percent of the time,” he said. “All of us would be in trouble.”The BC Ambulance Service is investigating the incident.

Just Posted

Queen Charlotte crackdown

RCMP target impaired driving amidst rising numbers of the offence

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

Haida Gwaii storm causes B.C. ferry delay

Skidegate to Prince Rupert route affected

Rainfall warning for Haida Gwaii

High winds also expected to hit the islands

Haida Gwaii eagles recovering in Ladner care facility

Treatment for the eagles is both costly and time intensive

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read