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Woman, 91, dies on balcony after waiting 7 hours for ambulance in Montreal

Urgences-santé officials are offering their condolences to family members of a 91-year-old woman who died after waiting seven hours for an ambulance to arrive. Global News

Urgences-santé officials in Quebec are offering their condolences to the family of a 91-year-old woman who died after waiting seven hours for an ambulance to arrive in Montreal.

Thérèse Pardiac died on a balcony in agony Saturday night after falling and breaking her leg.

Read more: Paramedics to deploy ‘pressure tactic’ protest against working conditions, union says

Unable to move, Pardiac, alongside her son and daughter-in-law, was left seated in an outdoor chair as she waited for paramedics to arrive.

According to Urgences-santé, while the senior was in pain, the 911 call was not deemed a priority — despite multiple calls from family members telling paramedics otherwise.

“Each time we evaluate and we assess the situation with the caller and those revelations made the priority of the call remained the same, not urgent at the time,” Vincent Brouillard spokesperson for Urgences-santé said.

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“During that period of time we had a lot of urgent calls and those were prioritized by our ambulance service.”

Brouillard says it is no secret that the emergency service is dealing with “serious and debilitating” staffing shortages.

He says the high volume of calls and the staffing issues are to blame for the delayed response time.

Urgences-santé will be launching an internal investigation into the death.

Brouillard says many factors, including the state of health of the victim, will be examined in the coroner’s inquest.

Read more: Is the Urgences-santé dispatcher shortage causing deadly delays?

Having less than 50 per cent of the workforce on the road during the night shifts and on weekends has become more and more common, Brouillard said.

Members of Urgences-santé are calling on the Health Ministry to find solutions to the heavy workload caused by the staffing shortage.

The Quebec minister of health, Christian Dubé, announced last month that his ministry “will authorize, in line with the vision of the Health Plan, the implementation of regulatory paramedicine which aims to allow, in close collaboration with other professionals, to refer the patient to the right care and the right professional instead of systematically transporting them to the emergency room.”

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