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B.C. senior forced to soil herself on floor after nearly 3-hour ambulance wait, son says

Click to play video: 'B.C. senior waited almost three hours for ambulance after son called 911 for help' B.C. senior waited almost three hours for ambulance after son called 911 for help
Another B.C. family is speaking out after experiencing a lengthy delay after calling 911 for an ambulance and as Kristen Robinson reports, it led to humiliation for the senior in need of help, and heartbreak for her family – Jun 26, 2021

A Vancouver man is angry and frustrated after his elderly mother suffered a fall at home, and then endured further humiliation due to what he says was a lengthy and unacceptable wait for an ambulance.

Ersilio Iacuitto said he received a frantic call from his 85-year-old mother, Tarsilla Iacuitto, who lives two doors down from him, about half an hour after he’d last checked on her Friday afternoon.

“She goes, ‘Run, because I have fallen,'” Ersilio recalled.

“I ran to the house and she was laying flat in front of the kitchen sink.”

Click to play video: 'Vancouver senior in distress waits for five hours for ambulance to no avail' Vancouver senior in distress waits for five hours for ambulance to no avail
Vancouver senior in distress waits for five hours for ambulance to no avail – Jun 4, 2021

Tarsilla, a diabetic with kidney problems who uses a walker, was hurt and in need of help.

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Ersilio said he phoned 911 around 450 p.m., and was told by dispatchers to call back in 20 minutes if an ambulance hadn’t come.

Read more: Dispatch system snags add to growing concern over B.C. ambulance delays

“The poor lady was saying, ‘I’m in pain, I’m in pain, I’m in pain,’ and she had to go to the washroom,” he said.

Firefighters arrived in less than 20 minutes, Ersilio said , and checked his mother’s vital signs — but the ambulance was delayed.

“Ten minutes passed, 20 minutes passed, the (fire) chief called again,” he said.

The first responders cared for Tarsilla as they waited, but according to her son, didn’t want to risk moving her and exacerbating any injuries.

An ambulance finally arrived about three hours later, Ersilio said, who believes the original paramedic team was diverted to a more dire emergency.

“Seniors paid their dues and nowadays, the seniors are getting a kick in the butt,” he said.

During the excruciating delay, his mother was eventually forced to soil herself on the kitchen floor.

“That’s very dehumanizing,” her son said.

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“I mean, we’re taxpayers we need services ASAP.”

Click to play video: 'Surrey parents drive injured child to hospital after lengthy ambulance delay' Surrey parents drive injured child to hospital after lengthy ambulance delay
Surrey parents drive injured child to hospital after lengthy ambulance delay – Jun 22, 2021

“Nobody should be waiting that long for an ambulance in their time of need,” Ambulance Paramedics of BC president Troy Clifford said.

Iacuitto had some stern words for Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“Spend more money, don’t put in your pocket. Spend it where it has to go,” he told Global News.

“Because these people have paid their dues, now it’s time that they need a hand and help.”

Read more: Questions about B.C. ambulance response times as woman waits hour with broken hip

Dix has been very supportive in trying to resolve the delays issue, according to Clifford, who said the problem is not really about funding and resources — but ambulances that need to be staffed.

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Last weekend, Clifford said reports from his union suggested that “between 30 and 50 per cent of ambulances were parked in the Lower Mainland.”

“That’s what causing a big part of our delays is the out-of-service ambulances,” Clifford said.

Click to play video: 'Surrey accident victim waits two hours for ambulance, family forced to take her to hospital' Surrey accident victim waits two hours for ambulance, family forced to take her to hospital
Surrey accident victim waits two hours for ambulance, family forced to take her to hospital – Jun 3, 2021

Global News reached out to BC Emergency Health Services but did not receive a response.

In a statement, the health ministry said it takes the concerns of people who deal with health services very seriously, and is working to address the challenge.

B.C. has hired 263 paramedics across the province so far this year, and an additional 400 positions will be posted in July.

Since 2017, the ministry said ambulance response times across B.C. have generally improved or remained consistent, despite significant increases in call volumes.

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Read more: ‘I passed out’: Injured Surrey child driven to hospital by family after lengthy ambulance delay

A new staffing model is also being rolled out, “aimed at improving emergency response coverage and creating a more stable paramedic workforce,” read the statement.

Iacuitto said his mother is recovering and he doesn’t blame those on the front lines.

“They’re doing their job the best that they can with their hands tied,” he said.

“But their managers — it’s time that they start doing their job.”

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