Canada: Woman dies waiting for ambulance

Mayor blames provincial government for not providing adequate ambulance service to rural areas

The Canadian Press

HUDSON'S HOPE, British Columbia —The B.C. Ambulance Service says a woman who died in a rural area while waiting for an ambulance passed away despite the efforts of a local part-time paramedic who was on the scene in less than a half hour.

The incident happened June 8 in the tiny community of Hudson's Hope, nearly 400 kilometres north of Prince George.

Mayor Karen Anderson said the woman suffered a heart attack but the ambulance usually stationed in the district had been sent to Tumbler Ridge, 160 kilometres south, earlier in the day.

Anderson said it took 90 minutes for an ambulance to reach the scene and by then the woman was dead, and she blamed the provincial government for failing to provide adequate life-saving care in rural areas.

The ambulance service admits that staffing problems took the local ambulance out of the area that day.

But in a statement, the service said a part-time paramedic in Hudson's Hope was on the scene within 27 minutes of the initial 911 call, which it said is just two minutes more than its normal response time for the community.

The service said the paramedic took over care of the patient from the local fire department and RCMP and continued to use CPR and a defibrillator to try to revive her.

But after a 35 minute effort to resuscitate the patient, the paramedic was advised by phone by a doctor in Fort St. John to stop CPR.

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