Princeton ambulance mixup

An injured man waited over two hours for an ambulance to get to his house between Hedley and Princeton

When Laszlo Meszaros broke his foot on his property between Princeton and Hedley he hobbled in pain back to his house to call an ambulance – but after waiting over two hours for it to arrive he cancelled it.

“I was in a lot pain. It should only take an ambulance 20 minutes to get here, not two hours,” Meszaros said.

Meszaros and his wife speak English as a second language so they had their son call 911 from Vancouver.

He called around 8 p.m. Feb. 24 but because of confusion over where the house was located, it took around two hours and 20 minutes for the ambulance to reach the area.

The ambulance never did pick up Mesaros though because, sick of waiting, the family cancelled the ambulance and a friend drove the injured man to the hospital.

According to protocol, the dispatcher should have called Meszaro back after his son called 911, said BC ambulance spokeswoman Kelsey Carwithen.

This is where the confusion began.

The ambulance driver was advised to drive west instead of east towards Hedley because Meszaros’ son said the house was located in Princeton, Carwithen said.

However, he did give the correct address of his father’s house.

“They had a clear address, yet they went the wrong way. My son knows where I live. We must raise the question about how much we can trust the ambulance in rural areas of Princeton,” Meszaros said.

“How could I live in Princeton when I have a 292 phone number?”

About an hour after the first 911 call was made, he said he received a call from an emergency dispatcher asking for directions to the house.

After waiting another hour, Meszaros decided to  make his way to the hospital with a friend.

“The bottom line is that we made a mistake as a service,” Carwithen said.

Meszaros is afraid the slow service will happen to someone else who has an emergency, and could be damaging, especially if the injury is life threatening.