Did a 2.5-hour wait for an ambulance contribute to a B.C. senior’s death?
“Mom didn’t deserve to lay there two-and-a-half hours waiting for an ambulance,” Vicki Kendall said.
Kendall and sister Lori Imai say the health-care system failed their elderly mother. According to Kendall and Imai, Barbara Wood broke her femur after she fell in her Pitt Meadows home, then waited two-and-a-half hours for an ambulance that travelled all the way from Vancouver to pick her up.
“My mother was 86 years old, just lying there after dragging herself to get her call button,” Imai said. “She was such a strong woman.”
Wood later died from complications. Her family says they later learned other ambulances were located at Ridge Meadows Hospital — about a 10-minute drive from Wood’s home — but they were sitting outside the ER with patients who were waiting to be admitted.
“If you’re not a severe enough case they stay there with you when they should be on the road tending to other people,” Kendall said.
Imai said her mother had surgery and then got the sad news that she had passed.
“They figure it might have been a blood clot,” she said. “We don’t know if things would have been different if she hadn’t been lying on the floor for two-and-a-half hours.”
The delay happened in spite of a third ambulance being added to the Maple Ridge station last September.
The B.C. government recently pledged to add 60 more paramedics and 20 ambulance dispatch staff.
Wood’s daughters say that needs to happen soon, or more lives could be lost.
“We’ve lost her when we should have had her for a lot longer,” Kendall said.
— With files from Catherine Urquhart