October 25, 2018 6:51 pm
Updated: October 25, 2018 9:16 pm

Questions raised over 911 protocol after student dies while writing exam at SFU

WATCH: The sudden death of a student on SFU's Burnaby campus is raising questions about the university's medical procedures. Jill Bennett reports.


The death of a student at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby (SFU) campus is raising questions about the protocol when it comes to calling 911 at the university.

The student, who was in his late 50s, was having trouble breathing while writing an exam last Thursday evening.

A call was made to Campus security, whose members do have first responder training.

Security then called 911 six minutes later.

A defibrillator was used on the man but he passed away.

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“My understanding of the particular incident was at first there was the instructor noticing that there was some respiratory difficulty and I think there was some intervening time before it was determined that off-campus services were needed,” Tim Rahilly, vice-provost, students and international at SFU, told Global News.

READ MORE: Make defibrillators mandatory in B.C., says Heart and Stroke Foundation

“I know that an AED device was used and an ambulance was called.”

Some students who were also taking the exam are raising questions on social media, wondering if the response could have been faster.

Rahilly said he attended the incident and believes proper protocol was followed. He added after any critical incident there is an analysis of what happened to determine if there was any confusion.

“I think what we are trying to tell everyone on campus is that we believe that it’s helpful when people call campus security in order to provide some immediate services [that are] nearby,” Rahilly said. “Whenever there … a request for an ambulance, or for off-campus services, our dispatchers are able to actually connect directly with 911 and stay on the line and monitor that while the person calling is speaking with emergency services.”

“Anytime emergency services are called, whether its police, fire or ambulance, what happens is campus security dispatches a patrol car to the traffic lights, has the lights on and they await emergency services and they escort them directly to the area where they are needed.”

Rahilly added that after any critical incident, they always get together, look at what happened and what campus security did. If there are any issues or confusion, they want to go back and make sure it’s as clear as possible.

“I think in this particular case people are pointing out that there are two options. What we are trying to assert is either one is really good when emergency services are needed. Please phone so we can get the services where we need them.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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