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

Oak Bay clinic opens virtual classes to public for fundraiser

Patient activity is up for cancer-supporting clinic during COVID-19 crisis

More than 1,500 people expected at Victoria peace rally for Black lives

‘To speak up, all you need is a voice and the will to be heard’

‘The face of Belmont’: Custodial staff at Langford school pivot to support parents, students

Staff serve as point of contact for parents, students with school

Sooke temporary homeless shelter packs up early

Occupants to leave facility by June 22

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read