Haida Gwaii ambulance in state of emergency

Imagine, if you will, walking through the door to find a loved one going through a medical emergency.

Imagine, if you will, walking through the door to find a loved one going through a medical emergency.

You rush to the phone and, as everyone is taught, call 911 – a call that could be the difference between life and death. But instead of hearing the sirens of a rushing ambulance, the only sound that fills the air is complete and total silence.

Because there is no ambulance coming. There are no paramedics on duty today, so the fastest emergency response will take more than an hour to arrive. By then it may be too late, and moving your loved one may not be an option. So what do you do?

It’s a question nobody should ever have to face in a country like Canada and yet that is the reality that has been facing the people of Queen Charlotte and Skidegate throughout the past several years when they were faced with days of no service and days of ambulance availability for a very short window of time.

It’s obvious the system is failing the people of Haida Gwaii and failing them horribly. Much like numerous decisions made in the offices of Victoria, what works throughout much of the province does not work in a small, remote area such as the islands. The population isn’t there and the training resources aren’t there, but that does not mean Haida Gwaii should get any less of a service than other parts of B.C.

Rather than simply point to how well the system works elsewhere or say “we’re aware of the situation”, provincial leaders need to step up and fix it. And not later, they need to fix it now.

Be real leaders.

There are undoubtedly some tough choices to be made for a resolution to be found and the solution will probably not fall within the budgetary or procedural guidelines of the B.C. Ambulance Service.

But when it makes the difference between life and death, budget and procedure can, and certainly should, be thrown out the window.

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