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

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

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is on track, despite COVID-19 and the recent provincial election. (Government of BC photo)
Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 closures announced

The first major closures are expected to occur starting on April 12 until May 14

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

One of the renovated VWs that has served as the inspiration for Wood's idea for a VW village to redefine camping. (Jeremiah Woods photo)
Golden entrpreneau walks away with a deal from Dragon’s Den

Camping in the Woods combines a love of the outdoors and for classic VW vehicles

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Shoreacres resident flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Real estate sales in the South Okanagan grew by more than any other part of the province in 2020. (Marissa Tiel - Black Press)
South Okanagan fastest growing real estate market in B.C.

There was over $1 billion in residential sales in 2020

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media/FILE)
Vehicle found abandoned after fleeing Kelowna RCMP, avoiding spike belt

Police believed at the time vehicle was tied to alleged shooting in West Kelowna

West Kelowna RCMP are investigating reports of gunfire in the 1700-block of Ross Road. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating reports of gunfire

West Kelowna RCMP said the incident occurred on Jan. 14

Most Read