Bass River man says he had to wait too long for paramedic during wife's medical emergency
BASS RIVER, N.S. -- A Bass River man maintains he had to wait too long for help -- even after EHS has presented its timeline of events leading to the dispatch of paramedics to his wife’s medical emergency.
Kevin George says his wife died after it took responders 80 minutes to arrive. EHS says it took about half that time, citing a preliminary review that found EHS crews were sent from Truro immediately after receiving the 9-1-1 call. EHS said they arrived at the scene 42 minutes later, adding that Nova Scotia was experiencing severe weather conditions at the time of this call.
"Everything is too late," George said. "I still have it in the back of my head, why there wasn’t help."
His wife April died on Feb. 8.
What they do agree on is the medical first responders from the local fire department weren’t dispatched that day.
Starting Friday, the Bass River and District Fire Brigade can respond to medical calls. They hadn’t been doing so like other medical first responders in the province because they were stopped at the start of the pandemic. They were trained three days after April George died and now EHS is training firefighters to respond amid the pandemic, equipping crews with masks and proper PPE.
It’s expected to take until October to train everyone in the province.
"Help was only a stone's throw away and it wasn’t there and I pray to God it doesn’t happen to the next person," George said.
George went to the media the same time the paramedics union sounded the alarm about ambulance shortages.
"We want to come to the table and talk with government, talk with the employer," said Michael Nickerson, the president of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 727, the union that represents paramedics in Nova Scotia.
Phil Stewart is the acting senior manager of EHS operations.
"We do acknowledge that ambulance availability is a challenge and we continue to work on solutions," Stewart said.
Solutions to response times EHS says are under constant analysis.