Rescuers in Montreal say the ambulance was due to a shortage of staff after it took seven hours to answer a phone call involving a 91-year-old woman who died before arrival over the weekend.
Emergency-Sante spokesman Stephen Smith said he received a call about a woman whose service had fallen and hurt her leg, adding that the call was classified as Priority 4. This is not considered urgent.
He says the woman’s condition was reassessed hourly and did not change, but she was dead by the time the rescuers arrived on Sunday morning.
The TVA reported that the woman was named Therese Paldiac and had a heart problem. The broadcaster quoted Pardiac’s daughter-in-law, who said the 911 phone could have her hip fracture and she was suffering while waiting for a 91-year-old ambulance.
Smith said summer weekend nights were particularly difficult for emergency medical personnel due to the high number of calls, adding that nearly half of the city’s emergency medical personnel’s positions were not filled.
He says Urgences-santé expects 16 more rescuers to join the service soon, but that’s “never enough.”