Lack of Ambulance Prompts Death of Skidegate Councillor

A 48-year-old man failed to reach hospital in time and died of a heart attack on Sunday in Skidegate on Haida Gwaii. Sources confirm that although the patient was only few minutes away from the hospital in Queen Charlotte City, there was no ambulance for transportation. The victim, Skidegate band councilor, Godfrey Williams, waited for an ambulance for almost an hour before surrendering.

Officials reveal that the only paramedics on duty were in Sandspit, i.e. a ferry ride away. The Mayor of Queen Charlotte City, Carol Kulesha, alleged that the incident was a sad tragedy that highlights a dire situation. Kulesha explained that on Friday there was no ambulance available for their community from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and there are none available on Saturday or Sunday either. Kulesha stressed that “it’s a long-term problem we’ve been trying to address for years” and “it’s a system problem. To be an ambulance attendant, beside the training, that BC Ambulance have been trying to supply, and they have tried to recruit, sometimes successfully, but you are on standby for two dollars an hour.” Kulesha highlighted that “you don’t get paid a regular wage unless there’s a call out.” “So people have to take jobs.”

Executive vice president of BC Emergency Health Services, Linda Lupini, alleged that “all of us at BC Ambulance have extended our condolences to the community and family and so on, it’s very tragic and not the outcome we worked so hard to achieve.”

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