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

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

Turf field project at Esquimalt High School awaits government response

The Es-Whoy-Malth Community Field Collaborative would see new fields and a clubhouse installed

North Saanich extends search for Sandown operator after only one credible proposal

District extends deadline for operator bids to Aug. 30 at 3 p.m.

Mainly sunny skies ahead for Friday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Police identify pair found dead along highway in northern B.C.

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

B.C. First Nation’s group using ads in Texas targeting company for fuel spill

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

LETTER: Refining bitmen not a good idea

One of the arguments against increasing the capacity of the Trans Mountain… Continue reading

LETTER: Welcome to Nevergreen Mall

Re: Work starts on mall expansion (News, July 17) Welcome to Nevergreen… Continue reading

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Most Read