Health care professionals demonstrate how BC Ambulance Service and HART members work together during transport of acutely ill or injured patients.

Health care professionals demonstrate how BC Ambulance Service and HART members work together during transport of acutely ill or injured patients.

HART to help acutely ill Princeton patients

Acutely ill patients in Princeton will now be able to travel to Penticton with the HART team, instead of with a doctor and nurse.

  • Mar. 20, 2012 5:00 p.m.

Acutely ill patients in Princeton will now be able to travel to Penticton with the newest high-acuity response team (HART), instead of with a doctor and nurse.

Previously the safest method of transporting an acutely ill patient from smaller communities like Princeton, Keremeos, Oliver, Osoyoos and Summerland required a doctor and nurse to travel with the patient.

But in those smaller regions, the doctors and nurses in question were the only people on schedule – leaving the emergency room or clinic area with insufficient coverage.

“With the launch of the Penticton HART team, we’re not only providing increased support to very sick and injured patients during transfers, we’re also providing additional clinical support to the health-care team at Penticton Regional Hospital,” Interior Health chairman Norman Embree said.

The HART is created as a support to those outlying areas. When a transport is required, the HART will be called in to travel to the referring facility with B.C. Ambulance.

That team will draw from a pool of six critical care nurses who will always be on site, working in the Penticton Regional Hospital emergency room or intensive care unit when not on the road. A respiratory therapist is also available to travel as required.

They will roll out a cart of portable equipment like ventilators and blood pressure monitors, depending on the patient’s needs, as the ambulance approaches the hospital. Once people and equipment are in, the ground trip is taken to the referring facility to pick up the patient.

The service can also work for transporting acutely ill patients to Kelowna for care as well.

Rain Nickerson, a nurse with nine years of experience in the ER and ICU, said all the equipment and medication will be at the fingertips of HART to ensure the patient’s safety as they travel.

“B.C. Ambulance can have a bag of saline, but no medicine,” she said. “But this is like having a little ICU in the back of the ambulance.”

Brent Hobbs, Interior Health’s network director of patient transportation, said that the medical community has long advocated for better support for rural physicians and nurses in the event of larger emergencies for some time.

“They wanted a solution to having to sending the only nurse and only doctor after-hours for many hours at a time,” he said.

He cited the example of a recent mobile home fire in Lytton: the one doctor and nurse on staff had to treat four badly burned victims – two adults and two children – pulled from the flames.

Hobbs said a HART team was dispatched to Lytton to help medical staff. “The closest help is many, many hours away,” he said.

“HART got there to assist those staff who were completely overwhelmed … The children did not survive, but the adults did and we were able to keep the doctor and nurse in their home community.”

Hobbs said that the HART team will pair well with the dedicated paramedic helicopter run newly established out of Kamloops, that will see patients flown between facilities.

“These two programs will complement each other,” he said.

Dr. Trevor Connolly, the local medical director for HART, said the 24/7 coverage will be a win for both patients, rural facilities and the Penticton hospital.

“It was a project I believed in, and I also believed in the staff we got,” he said. “As a physician, we always worry about patients in transport. It’s a big decision to know whether these patients are going to be stable during transportation or require a higher level of care.

“This will really bridge that gap or void.”

South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation executive director Janice Perrino said they were able to make the $180,000 donation to set the team up with equipment after a Penticton man saw the need for better rural service and coverage, in part because his family lived in the outlying region.

“He was not able to give this gift in his life,” Perrino said, noting it was a legacy donation made as part of his estate. “The only part that makes me sad is he’s not here to see what a difference it will make.”

Simone Blais – Penticton Western News


Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

Most Read