A high volume of ambulance calls in Penticton on Wednesday morning (March 16) resulted in a 42-minute delayed response to a 15-year-old who suffered a neck injury on the ice at Memorial Arena in Penticton.
BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) received a call at 11:14 a.m. about an incident that took place during a Western Canadian minor hockey tournament in Penticton.
A 15-year old player suffered a serious neck injury on the ice but wasn’t responded to by local paramedics for 42 minutes until 11:56 a.m.
“There was a higher volume of calls in Penticton (yesterday) morning, with some incidents that required lengthy responses,” a BCEHS spokesperson wrote to the Western News in an email.
“Additionally, some crews were tied up at hospital emergency departments. We apologize for the wait — we know it can be stressful waiting for an ambulance.”
Prior to the arrival of the ambulance, local firefighters arrived on scene just before 11:20 a.m. to provide first aid for the hockey player.
The provincial health service said wait times for ambulances in Penticton on Wednesday were “longer than average.”
“BCEHS responds to the most critically ill and injured patients first, by prioritizing the ambulance response based on a medical priority dispatch system used around the world,” the email added.
The Canadian Sport School Hockey League Western Championships touched down at Penticton’s local arena this week, welcoming 80 teams from as close as Vancouver Island to as far as Manitoba.
Players aged 13 to 18 are taking part.
The injured player was transported to hospital after a 42-minute wait after some ambulance crews were occupied at the hospital’s emergency department.
“Our dispatch has a process to upgrade a call to a higher priority response if a patient’s condition worsens,” BCEHS concluded.