UPDATE: Ambulance’s slow response time angers family

Woman suffers stroke, waits nearly an hour for ambulance

The ambulance that arrived close to an hour after a 9-1-1 call was made from a location only eight kilometers from Rimbey did not belong to Associated Ambulance.

Paul Kennedy, executive director of operations for Associated Ambulance said both Rimbey ambulances were responding to other calls at the time.

Kennedy said he cannot confirm which ambulance made the call, but he can confirm Associated was on other calls at that time.

Which ambulance company responded to a call from a Rimbey area family has not yet been determined, but one thing is clear.

The family, who lives seven minutes away from Rimbey, feels the ambulance system failed them, not only by their slow response time, but also by showing complete disregard for the medical condition of their patient.

Brian Schneider, whose wife, Carmele, suffered a stroke late last year, said his wife is still recovering.

“Why did it take nearly an hour to arrive at a residence eight kilometers away from Rimbey? We have two ambulances in Rimbey that we pay taxes for. Do they not have GPS or maps to enable directions to be qualified and followed, or do they not understand how to read the map?

Schneider, who was in Calgary at the time, said his son, Brian Schneider called 9-1-1 at 7:14 p.m. on Nov. 22 after he discovered his mother, Carmele was confused and appearing to have had a stroke.

“I was on the phone with the call center for 30 minutes while we waited for the ambulance to show up.”

He said the ambulance appeared at the end of the driveway, sat there for a few minutes and then started to drive away.

He said his friend, Jason Evernden, who was with him at the time, jumped in his truck and chased the ambulance down the road for about five kilometers flashing his lights until they finally pulled over.

Meanwhile Schneider remained on the phone with the call center telling the lady to get the ambulance to stop.

The ambulance turned around and followed Evernden, but, didn’t turn into the driveway, but flew past it and had to back up.

By this time more than 40 minutes had elapsed since 911 was called.

Schneider said the ambulance attendants, once they came inside were calm and relaxed, and told him they believed the patient was suffering from a drug overdose. He said they made him feel like it was not a time sensitive issue.

“My understanding is that they are supposed to assess vitals and condition of the patient with a brief history and then load and go,” he said.

Schneider was less than impressed when the attendants set his mom on the stretcher, but did not engage the locking pins and the stretcher dropped to the ground.

He was further distressed when they mentioned they had forgotten their laptop, which he and his friend retrieved for them, only to be asked to go back in and grab another bag they had forgotten.

He said when they finally got on their way it was one and a half hours from the time the call was made.

Carmele Schneider was taken to Rimbey Hospital, rushed to Red Deer for a CT scan, and then taken to Calgary Foothills Neuroscience.

“Since this event I have learned that there is an anti-clotting drug that has a three-hours window to be administered,” said Schneider.

“This was totally ridiculous,” said Brian Schneider. “We can’t stop this one, it’s done, but we need to get it out there.”

The Review now has a call into Associated Ambulances head office regarding the incident.

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