A neighbour of a Penticton senior said the person fell coming out of the Vees game Nov. 10 and allegedly waited 1.5 hours for an ambulance. (Black Press file photo)

A neighbour of a Penticton senior said the person fell coming out of the Vees game Nov. 10 and allegedly waited 1.5 hours for an ambulance. (Black Press file photo)

Letter: Senior who fell at Penticton Vees game waits 1.5 hours for ambulance

The person in their 80s had to lie on the cold ground with a broken hip

Editor:

A slow response by the ambulance service to an accident outside the SOEC arena parking lot about 9 p.m., after the VEES’ hockey game Nov. 10th is concerning.

Two able seniors (over 80) left when the game finished but when they got to the parking lot, one tripped off the curb in the dark and fractured his hip. The injured man told his friend he had heard something snap when he fell and knew enough to just lie there until help arrived. Of course, none of us could ascertain what actually had broken so we could not make him more comfortable.

A kind stranger placed a call to the 9-1-1 emergency line and stayed to help for a long time. When I arrived a bit later, I placed three more calls to the 9-1-1 center to find out why it was taking so long. Each time they assured us the ambulance was “on its way.”

We found a few thin blankets and a pillow to help ward off the bitter cold but collectively we had little. Around 9:42 a fire truck arrived (40 minutes after the first call) and we were very relieved, but they explained they were just first responders and could not do much for him. They did provide small heating pads for under his arms and another thin blanket to cover him, and also assured us the ambulance was coming.

But the injured man had to continue lying there until after 10:30 p.m., over an hour and a half longer, while he lay there in pain, shivering in the wind, lying on the cold hard pavement.

We all know how busy the ambulance service is and realize it is sometimes busier than others, but for a senior lying out in the cold waiting patiently for help, this is not good enough. The firemen were kind and reassuring but they did not have the tools or the vehicle to get the patient to the hospital, and surely their different skills could have been better used elsewhere.

When a taxpaying senior is left lying in the cold for so long, where is their help? We hope this does not happen again to anyone.

(From one of the neighbours who accompanied the patient to the game)

Jacqueline Perry

Penticton