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Hamilton ambulance shortage cited in recent death

Code Zero cited as factor in Hamilton woman's death.
Code Zero cited as factor in Hamilton woman's death. Hamilton Police

Hamilton’s chronic problem with ambulance shortages is being cited in the death of a 71-year-old woman last month.

The family of Catherine Terry says she died on the floor of her apartment July 10 after calling for an ambulance that never came.

It happened during a Code Zero event, when there is one or no ambulance available.

OPSEU local 256 President Mario Posteraro says the province simply has to do more.

READ MORE: Home visits by Hamilton paramedics aim to reduce 911 calls, hospital admissions

He says so far there’s been only “chump change” to deal with a serious problem.

“Patients are being tied up in emergency departments even with the addition of so-called off-load nurses,” Posteraro said. “There still aren’t enough ward beds. So, patients aren’t being moved out of the emergency ward fast enough.”

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LISTEN: Mario Posteraro, president, OPSEU Local 256, joins the Bill Kelly Show

READ MORE: Hamilton paramedics have essential service deal, disputes to go to arbitration

He says at minimum, “Hamilton needs five more ambulances and staff which would cost a million dollars per ambulance.”

The union boss says without more ambulances and the paramedics to staff them, Hamilton is left with “a dangerous game of Russian Roulette.”

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