Vanessa Larche wants answers. Last week, her three-year-old son Liam had a convulsion at daycare.
Larche and the daycare director say 911 put them on hold. It took 15 minutes before an ambulance was dispatched.
“I can’t describe the feeling how horrible it was to know there was no help coming,” Larche explained to Global News on Wednesday.
The daycare director, Debra Jolly, says she placed her first call to 911 at 3:10 p.m. on Aug. 29, and was put on hold for nearly 15 minutes.
Medical malpractice lawyer Patrick Martin-Menard says that’s far too long.
“In all cases, it should certainly take no more than a minute,” said Martin-Menard.
The Montreal Police Department operates the 911 call centre, and on Thursday, told Global News that 911 only received a call at 3:23 p.m.
They say that call was immediately transferred to Urgences-santé.
The department says there could have been a problem with the daycare’s phone service.
Larche and the daycare director say they also called from their cellphones.
“The director, she was on her cellphone and her landline on hold on both,” explained Larche.
In a statement, police told Global News: “On August 29th, a violent storm swept Montreal. 911 received a high volume of calls. As a result, it’s possible the phone network had trouble connecting with 911,” the SPVM said.
Martin-Menard says that’s not a justification
“An emergency response service like 911 should have a contingency plan in place,” he said.
Larche is also upset that when her son was finally loaded into the ambulance, the paramedics did not put their sirens on.
“We sat in traffic on the 40 like every other person leaving work that day. There was no urgency at all,” Liam’s mother said.
“If it’s something mild, and the patient has been stabilized because he was given medication, then they will proceed without lights and sirens,” explained Urgences-santé operations chief Francois Labelle.
The family has filed an official complaint with Urgences-santé.
“That was flagged to the complaints commissioner and he’s investigating right now,” Labelle said.
That means the complaints commissioner will be looking into every aspect of what happened that day.
“That person is going to ask us to meet with the paramedics, evaluate the call, look at the problems with the call, ask us if everything is done according to protocol, things like that,” he explained.
The Torres family should get their answers in 45 days, the deadline for the commissioner to file his report.