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Changes Coming to British Columbia’s 911 System After Woman’s Death

VANCOUVER –  Changes are coming to British Columbia’s 911 system after a woman died while waiting more than half an hour for help to arrive, according to the CBC.

It took the ambulance crew 35 minutes to reach 56-year-old Tracey Gundersen back in November 2018 because both the doors to her apartment building and an elevator were locked. Firefighters with master keys were called in too late to the low-income apartment complex that was once a high-security provincial remand center.

An independent review of the incident found Gundersen’s death may have been avoidable and makes 14 recommendations about patient care and how to prevent death. One of them includes having firefighters be on scene whenever there may be a problem accessing the patient.

Photo: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
File photo. Changes are coming to British Columbia’s 911 call system after a woman died last year waiting for help to arrive.

Health Minister Adrian Dix tells the CBC all 14 recommendations will be put into effect.

“This is a serious case. It’s a tragic case. It’s a heartbreaking case,” Dix told the CBC. “There are lessons to be learned and that’s why I did it.”

Dix ordered the investigation in Gundersen’s death after an appeal from Gundersen’s daughter, a 911 call taker.

Further reading

One EMS System Develops a Rational 911 Response

Does Increased Call Data Actually Improve Patient Care and Outcome?