Ashcroft woman dies of cardiac arrest after no ambulance or ER available Sunday

An Ashcroft woman who lived in a seniors home a block away from the hospital and the ambulance station died of a cardiac arrest on Sunday morning.

That is because the emergency room was closed over the weekend due to a lack of doctors, and there were no ambulances in the village when the 911 call was made around 11:20 a.m. on July 17.

An off-duty firefighter, who was responding as a private citizen, had to perform CPR on the woman until paramedics from out of town arrived a half an hour later.

Troy Clifford, the President of the Ambulance Paramedics of BC says news of the woman’s death is disturbing.

“I’ve had contact from the mayor and a number of other people in the community who are pretty upset about that obviously, and rightfully so. It is very disturbing to hear this information and the way it unfolded,” he said on NL Newsday.

Clifford says despite have a 24-hour ambulance station in Ashcroft, staffing issues mean it is not able to serve the needs of the community.

“This is impacting real life people’s families and their emergency times,” he said. “We know that those time limits that we are talking about are not anything close to what should be acceptable, particularly in an emergency like that.”

Clifford also says tragic situations like this one affects paramedics as well.

Speaking to NL News, Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden is raising the alarm about a lack of ambulances and medical care in her community, calling Sunday’s incident “a perfect storm.”

“I don’t know if this has happened before. This is the first one that I have heard of,” Roden said. “It is one of those things where if you chance just one piece of the puzzle, you might have a different outcome.”

“So we need to get on with the recruitment piece and in the meantime we need to try and find solutions to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, whether it is in Ashcroft or Clearwater or anywhere else.”

Roden says she has already met with Interior Health and with BC EHS, which will be reviewing why it took a long time for paramedics to respond to this call.

“The paramedics here in Ashcroft, the individual people at Interior Health, they are all good people, they are well meaning people,” Roden said.

“This is not the fault of any one person. It is sort of the culmination of a problem that has been growing and growing and growing. If there was an easy solution or an easy fix, someone would have found it by not. I think what it illustrates is the important of recruitment and starting that now.”

Ashcroft woman dies of cardiac arrest after no ambulance or ER available Sunday