Letters: Question about ambulances

Time is of the essence in a medical emergency, there is no doubt.

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Ambulances take too long’ (The News, Jan. 28).

There are two important messages in the article, both of which I agree totally.

One is ‘ambulances take too long’; the other is, “We have a great ambulatory care service”.

Unfortunately, neither has anything to do with the other.

Time is of the essence in a medical emergency, there is no doubt. For heart attack, trauma, stroke and many other patients, timely skilled medical intervention is critical and is often referred to as ‘The Golden Hour’.

For a stroke patient, that is the time from onset of symptoms to having a CT scan, including initial interpretation of the result.

My colleagues in the B.C. Ambulance service, fellow nurses, doctors and other medical staff do their best with a broken system.

Lack of available ambulances may be part of the problem meeting ‘the Golden Hour’ standard, but the other part is lack of paramedics to use those ambulances, including advanced life support paramedics.

Having single paramedic responders will help as a Band-Aid solution, but it is rather like painting over a crack in a wall.

The crack is still there and getting worse by the day.

MLA Marc Dalton is quite correct when he says that “we have a great ambulatory care system”. Mr. Dalton, as a former teacher, is no doubt aware of the importance of answering the question assigned for homework, saying what you mean and of checking your answer.

Ambulatory care, according to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, is ‘health services provided on an outpatient basis to those who visit a hospital or another health care facility and depart after treatment on the same day’.

We do have a great ambulatory care facility at Ridge Meadows Hospital, staffed by a huge team of dedicated professional people, including nurses, doctors, therapists and many other hospital staff.

People attend the ambulatory care clinic for numerous reasons, including but not limited to intravenous antibiotics, blood transfusions,  chemo therapy, replacing IV cannulas and many other medical procedures.

So, Mr. Dalton is quite correct. The only problem is that the article is actually about ambulance response times and not ambulatory care.

So, did Mr. Dalton do his homework? Did he say what he meant? Has Mr. Dalton answered the question or has he deliberately given a wrong answer?

Paddy Kopieczek, RN

Maple Ridge


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