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HomeBusinessExclusive: SkyTrain-injured indigenous woman endured nearly 80-minute ambulance wait

Exclusive: SkyTrain-injured indigenous woman endured nearly 80-minute ambulance wait


Bob Mackin

An injured indigenous woman was forced to wait almost an hour and 20 minutes on a SkyTrain for an ambulance to arrive, has learned.

Clockwise, from upper left, SkyTrain surveillance images of a woman injured June 1 (TransLink/FOI)

An accident/incident report obtained from TransLink under freedom of information by shows that SkyTrain attendants were alerted to trouble aboard car 340 at 3:25 p.m. on June 1.

When the train entered Metrotown station, an attendant found “an indigenous female was laying on her side crying.”

A medical emergency was declared at 3:29 p.m., the train offloaded and routed into a pocket area at the station with the injured passenger remaining on board. An ambulance was dispatched at 3:33 p.m. but SkyTrain staff were “unable to get an ETA.”

Burnaby Fire Department crews arrived at 4:12 p.m. They believed the woman had a broken hip from falling out of her mobility scooter and decided to wait for the B.C. Emergency Health Services paramedics to arrive and remove her.

SkyTrain attendant Sue-Ann Cameron’s incident report said the passenger had fallen off the scooter, hit her head and body on the plexiglas divider by a door, and ended up under the scooter. Surveillance images released to by TransLink show the passenger on her scooter near a door, tipping over on her left side and then another passenger coming to her aid.

“Passenger complained of pain in her head, cervical, spine, ribs, hips, collar bone and left arm,” said the incident report.

By 4:30 p.m., the ambulance had still not arrived, so another call was made to 9-1-1 “to see if the ambulance could move this incident up in priority.”

Finally, paramedics were on-scene at 4:44 p.m and took the passenger off the train at 4:55 p.m.

Paramedics stretcher a woman out of Metrotown SkyTrain station on June 1 (TransLink/FOI)

A fourth image shows the passenger on a stretcher being led away by two paramedics through the station fare gates at 4:57 p.m., en route to Burnaby General Hospital.

In June, exclusively reported on a Dec. 5, 2020 fall by a man on a mobility scooter into the tracks at Rupert SkyTrain station. The man was found bleeding heavily from the nose by the edge of the platform and his scooter in the guideway. He had also been electrocuted after contacting the power rail upon his fall.

On July 14, after record ambulance waits contributed to mass-deaths in the late June heat wave, Health Minister Adrian Dix said chief operating officer Darlene MacKinnon would keep her job. But, Providence Health COO Leanne Heppell would become “chief ambulance officer” on an interim basis.

Dix named former Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu, now an executive with Aquilini Investment Group, as the new BCEHS chair, with Telus CEO Darren Entwistle becoming a special advisor.

Dix also announced 85 more paramedics and 35 dispatchers would be hired full-time and another 22 ambulances would be purchased. 

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