BC Ferries helped respond to nearly 340 medical emergencies last year

Crews trained in first aid, unscheduled runs or altered timetables help health care system response throughout B.C. coast

The Baynes Sound Connector was recently delayed in order to allow the emergency transport of a patient from Denman Island

Emergencies don’t follow ferry schedules and they don’t wait until a ship is safely docked.

And that is why BC Ferries is prepared to turn into an emergency response team whenever the need arises.

Crew members handled 196 medical emergencies on board ships, or in terminals during the 2015/16 fiscal year and supported B.C. Ambulance paramedics with another 143 requests for assistance, the ferry corporation announced Wednesday.

“I am very proud of our trained staff members and crew who assist passengers in medical distress or respond to the call to assemble a crew for an extra unscheduled sailing,” vice-president of customer services Corrine Storey said in a media release. “While these incidents can sometimes cause delays, we are happy to provide a safe environment as well as transportation for critical patients from the smaller coastal communities we serve.”

The B.C. Emergency Health Services calls can often consist of a crew being hastily assembled in the middle of the night to transport the residents of places like Sointula, Thetis Island and Gabriola Island over to hospitals on the big island for emergency treatment. Or they involve holding ships at the terminal, or returning them to port, to link up with an ambulance.

Recent incidents include holding the Baynes Sound Connector for 12 minutes for a patient from Denman Island, and a crew being assembled in the dead of night for the Powell River Queen in order to make an unscheduled emergency run from Quadra Island to Campbell River.

“Our working relationship with BC Ferries is an important part of our provincial health care delivery system,” said Jodi Jensen, chief operating officer for BCEHS. “With the help of BC Ferries, our paramedics are able reach our patients in coastal and remote communities and provide them with the emergency medical care that they need.”

In addition to the transportation service, BC Ferries also offers hands-on medical assistance when needed through its more than 800 staff trained in occupational first aid.

“For more serious incidents on board the vessels, crew will make public address announcements requesting assistance from registered medical professionals such as doctors or nurses who are travelling on board, and also call BCAS to have paramedics meet the patient at the terminal. BC Ferries appreciates the assistance all of these professionals provide,” the media release states.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Just Posted

Custom motorcycle and wood cutter stolen from Sooke motorcycle shop

2006 Husqvarna motorcycle and 2-ton log splitter taken from outbuilding

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Mainroad South Island reminds drivers to keep them in the loop

Call the hotlines for concerns on local provincial highways

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Most Read