When a B.C. woman hurt her foot, she was told to call 911 for an ambulance. Except she was already in the hospital’s parking lot.
Britany Spavin drove 45 minutes to Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail, after falling down a flight of stairs.
But due to having to park a distance from the hospital, she was unable to get inside by herself.
The hospital is undergoing extensive renovations, meaning temporary parking is located around the construction site.
Since she couldn’t make the trek on her injured foot, she called reception to ask if she could park in an empty spot close to the doors. But they told her no, she couldn’t “under any circumstances.”
Call 911 to Get to Hospital
So what was the receptionists’ solution? They suggested Spavin call 911 to get her from the parking lot to the emergency room.
“I was like … but I’m already in the parking lot of the hospital,” Spavin told Radio West. “It just kind of rubbed me the wrong way…it made me feel a little odd that I would be required to call in such a needed service when I was already at the hospital. It just seemed like a really extreme option for what I was asking for.”
Spavin parked illegally, but said it still took her 15 minutes to walk to the emergency room because of the construction.
There is usually a shuttle vehicle available to drive anyone from the parking lot to the hospital, but it’s only available on weekdays.
Spavin waited four hours at the hospital, but was unable to see a doctor or have X-rays taken, she said. She is now going to a different hospital in Nelson, B.C.
Jane Cusden, Director of Clinical Operations with Interior Health, said this has happened before. Paramedics have been asked to retrieve patients from the parking lot to the hospital, but it isn’t common.
“It’s very difficult to speak to a specific situation. I would say that this is a pretty unusual case. We’re really sorry for this patient’s experience,” Cusdan said to CBC.
Normally, hospital staff would see if anyone is available to help, rather than ask patients to call 911.
In this case, it was a Sunday and Cusden said it was a very busy day.
The hospital upgrades are expected to be done by the fall of 2020.
But until then she said, “We obviously will review this case and see what improvements we can make to the messaging that the [reception] switchboard gives to people.”
A Burnaby hospital will undergo renovations as well, as the BC Government is committing $1.3 Billion to redevelopment. And in other noteworthy news, BC is changing how 911 dispatch works.
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