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Posted: 9/6/2004 10:00:11 PM EDT
And people actually point to Canada as an example of what healthcare should be like?


Emergency ward dials 911 when dying woman arrives

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Vancouver — The family of a 22-year old woman who died at a British Columbia hospital threatened legal action yesterday in an attempt to show that emergency-room staff failed to properly respond when an uncle rushed in, frantically asking for help.

Single mother Jessica Peace was in the back seat of the car when Jim Roberts pulled into the emergency driveway of Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, outside Vancouver, two weeks ago. She had stopped breathing moments before.

Mr. Roberts asked for help. Hospital staff called 911 for paramedics to bring Ms. Peace into the hospital. "I believe if I had gotten help immediately when I pulled up, she would still be alive," he said yesterday.

The hospital's response has reignited a fierce debate over the institution's reaction to people who go to the emergency department requiring assistance to get out of a car and into the hospital.

Ms. Peace's death came 16 months after an 88-year-old man died of cardiac arrest outside a residence care facility next to the hospital, fuelling suspicion the institution has a policy of calling 911, rather than responding immediately to those in need.

Hospital representatives adamantly denied having a policy to call for an ambulance to bring people from the driveway or parking lot to the emergency ward.

However, Mr. Roberts said yesterday hospital officials were not giving an accurate portrayal of what happened when he pulled up. He may go to court, if necessary, to put on the record exactly what took place, he said.

"What is really bothering me is the blatant lies."

Mr. Roberts recalled driving to the hospital with his niece about 4 p.m. on Aug 25. Ms. Peace was a drug addict who was trying to break her habit. They were talking in the car, but then at a red light close to the hospital she stopped talking. It looked like she was not breathing.

He rushed into the emergency room, saying his niece had stopped breathing and that he needed help immediately. He said he was told to phone an ambulance. When he suggested that was not appropriate, ER staff dialled the number and gave him the phone.

A paramedic from the hospital came out to assist only after he returned to the car and stood there, shouting: "Help, she's not breathing," Mr. Roberts said. They rushed Ms. Peace into the hospital but were unsuccessful in reviving her.

David Plug, a spokesman for the Fraser Health Authority, which runs the hospital, said hospital staff would normally help if they were not busy with emergency patients.

"There is no policy that bars them from going out," he said. "It happens all the time at hospitals. People come and say, 'I have someone in the parking lot' and the hospital responds if it can."

Hospital staff said they did not hear Mr. Roberts say his niece was having breathing problems, Mr. Plug said. They only heard him ask for assistance to bring someone inside.

When they overheard Mr. Roberts tell 911 about the breathing problems, a nurse went to check out the problem. The nurse then called for a paramedic to come with a stretcher to bring Ms. Peace into the hospital, Mr. Plug said.

"Emergency did not know the situation outside when they asked him to call 911," Mr. Plug said. "When they found out, they reacted in a timely fashion."

Mr. Roberts insisted that no one came out until he started shouting in the parking lot. He did not see a nurse outside.

The hospital did whatever could be done once his niece was taken indoors, he added. He was not upset with the hospital until staff starting offering a different version of events.

Unless they acknowledge what they did, he will look into court action to bring the truth out, Mr. Roberts said.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 10:05:13 PM EDT
Coming soon to a hospital near you-if the Dims get their way.
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