Members of the cycling club wait with their friend

Long wait for ambulance in Pitt Meadows

Cyclist, 64, lies on Ford Rd. Detour for an hour.

A 64-year-old cyclist who crashed and was suffering from chest pains laid in the middle of a road in Pitt Meadows for more than an hour on Sunday while waiting for an ambulance.

Members of his club who were riding with him are concerned about the response time, given the extent of their friend’s injuries.

Remi Coupal, an Anmore man with a business in Port Coquitlam, was riding alongside his friend, Rick Stefani, of Port Moody, along Ford Road Detour.

Both are members of the Tri-Cities Bike Club.

They had been riding at 30 to 35 km/h when Stefani suddenly crashed on a flat, straight stretch of road. His front tire turned sideways and he pitched over the handlebars onto the pavement.

Stefani had abrasions on his face, knees and shoulder, and complained about his heart.

“Once he catches his breath, his first comment was, ‘My heart,’” said Coupal.

“He was in excruciating pain,” and his breathing was laboured.

Coupal was worried that Stefani had suffered a heart attack.

Stefani also complained of numbness in his right arm.

“We were concerned, given what he was telling us,” Coupal said.

Bill Lealess, a retired firefighter and a member of the club, held the injured man’s head straight and immobile while they waited for help.

Members of the group called three times for an ambulance, first at 9:48 a.m.

Paramedics arrived at 10:49 a.m.

“He was laying on the road for an hour,” said Coupal.

At the suggestion of Lealess, Coupal asked the 911 dispatch to send firefighters, but was told it was an ambulance call.

“I felt helpless.”

When paramedics arrived and picked Stefani up off the pavement, the road was wet with his sweat, Coupal remembers.

It turned out that Stefani did not have a heart attack, and his pain was caused by multiple injuries he sustained in the crash: four broken ribs, a broken scapula and a collapsed lung.

“I was a little disturbed by such a long wait,” said Coupal.

B.C. Emergency Health Services said the initial call came in at 9:49 a.m., was categorized as Code 2, meaning it was not considered life-threatening.

“We understand this incident was upsetting for this patient, the family and bystanders involved,” said B.C. Emergency Health Services executive vice-president Linda Lupini.

However, she added, due to the location of the event, there were no first responder partners available to assist paramedics in providing pre-hospital care.

“Sunday morning was very busy in the Tri-Cities, with two other patients requiring more immediate care,” she said. “BCEHS received another call from the scene of this incident at 10:36 a.m. and the patient was re-assessed and the call was re-prioritized. Advanced care paramedics arrived on scene at 10:49 a.m., 13 minutes after the call was re-prioritized. When paramedics arrived at the scene of the cycling incident, they assessed the patient was indeed in stable condition, and was then transported to hospital.”

Premier Christy Clark announced the addition of two ambulances in the Lower Mainland, one in Maple Ridge and one in the Tri-Cities, last week.

Lupini said it can take several months to hire and place paramedics needed to staff new ambulances on a 24/7 basis, and BCEHS is working to ensure the new ambulances are on the road as soon as possible.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows to host live virtual city council meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Mayor Dingwall updates on new initiatives and city staffing

Haney Bypass section closed for Easter long weekend

Bypass improvements expected to be completed later this year

City of Pitt Meadows Launches Local Business and Services Listing

Guide provides info which will encourage and enable residents to shop local

IN IT TOGETHER: Take good care of yourself, so you can care for others

Maple Ridge woman offers series of wellness columns aimed at helping navigate through COVID-19

Historical artifact found in Maple Ridge returned to Katzie First Nation

Katzie chief Grace George is grateful to have stone maul returned

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read