Calgary fire truck transports injured 3-year-old to the hospital

Click to play video: 'Injured 3-year-old taken to hospital in fire truck because of ambulance shortage: Calgary fire chief' Injured 3-year-old taken to hospital in fire truck because of ambulance shortage: Calgary fire chief
WATCH: Calgary Fire Department Chief Steve Dongworth said his firefighters had to transport a little girl to hospital over the weekend because no paramedics were available. As Ina Sidhu reports, the chief says a lack of ambulances is “unacceptable.” – Jun 27, 2022

Calgary Fire Department Chief Steve Dongworth is raising concerns after a fire truck was needed to take a child to the hospital on Sunday.

Dongworth said fire crews responded to calls of a three-year-old child who fell and hit the back of her head at around 12:10 a.m.

The child was vomiting and convulsing, which prompted the captain to call an on-call physician for medical advice.

The child was then transported to Alberta Children’s Hospital after the doctor advised the crew to do so. The captain then informed the battalion chief about the situation.

Read more: Airdrie boy with broken leg rushed to hospital in fire truck because no ambulances available

Dongworth said the situation was out of the ordinary and noted firefighters usually don’t transport people to the hospital. He noted there is “obviously” a systemic and organizational issue within Calgary’s EMS system.

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“Our vehicles aren’t set up to transport people, particularly injured people,” Dongworth said at an unrelated news conference on Monday morning.

“As far as I’m aware, and from what I heard, there were no ambulances available that night in Calgary. We never heard of an EMS unit assigned to the call.”

Dongworth said the fire department will be there when needed.

“We will continue to take similar actions when necessary, but it’s not ideal. It’s not an ideal system.

Read more: ‘We’re on our knees’: Alberta EMS union says system on the verge of collapse

An EMS spokesperson told Global News paramedics arrived a minute after the Calgary Fire Department made the decision to take the child to hospital.

It took approximately 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive following the first 911 call, the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“EMS is reviewing the call further and reaching out directly to Chief Dongworth to discuss his concerns,” the statement read.

“The Calgary Fire Department routinely co-responds to medical emergencies, as part of Alberta’s Medical First Response program. This helps ensure that patients receive care as quickly as possible, from either EMS or one of our first responder partners.”

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Read more: Calgary dog attack EMS response to be reviewed by Health Quality Council of Alberta

The spokesperson also said Alberta Health Services is doing all it can to alleviate pressure on EMS crews by hiring more paramedics, adding ambulances and implementing the province’s EMS 10-point plan.

Four new ambulances are on the road this month in Calgary and five new ambulances are scheduled for the end of September this year, the spokesperson said.

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