BC Ferries helped respond to nearly 340 medical emergencies last year

Crews trained in first aid, unscheduled runs or altered timetables help health care system response throughout B.C. coast

The Baynes Sound Connector was recently delayed in order to allow the emergency transport of a patient from Denman Island

Emergencies don’t follow ferry schedules and they don’t wait until a ship is safely docked.

And that is why BC Ferries is prepared to turn into an emergency response team whenever the need arises.

Crew members handled 196 medical emergencies on board ships, or in terminals during the 2015/16 fiscal year and supported B.C. Ambulance paramedics with another 143 requests for assistance, the ferry corporation announced Wednesday.

“I am very proud of our trained staff members and crew who assist passengers in medical distress or respond to the call to assemble a crew for an extra unscheduled sailing,” vice-president of customer services Corrine Storey said in a media release. “While these incidents can sometimes cause delays, we are happy to provide a safe environment as well as transportation for critical patients from the smaller coastal communities we serve.”

The B.C. Emergency Health Services calls can often consist of a crew being hastily assembled in the middle of the night to transport the residents of places like Sointula, Thetis Island and Gabriola Island over to hospitals on the big island for emergency treatment. Or they involve holding ships at the terminal, or returning them to port, to link up with an ambulance.

Recent incidents include holding the Baynes Sound Connector for 12 minutes for a patient from Denman Island, and a crew being assembled in the dead of night for the Powell River Queen in order to make an unscheduled emergency run from Quadra Island to Campbell River.

“Our working relationship with BC Ferries is an important part of our provincial health care delivery system,” said Jodi Jensen, chief operating officer for BCEHS. “With the help of BC Ferries, our paramedics are able reach our patients in coastal and remote communities and provide them with the emergency medical care that they need.”

In addition to the transportation service, BC Ferries also offers hands-on medical assistance when needed through its more than 800 staff trained in occupational first aid.

“For more serious incidents on board the vessels, crew will make public address announcements requesting assistance from registered medical professionals such as doctors or nurses who are travelling on board, and also call BCAS to have paramedics meet the patient at the terminal. BC Ferries appreciates the assistance all of these professionals provide,” the media release states.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Just Posted

North Island students release salmon fry

180 students from kindergarten to grade seven partipcated in the program

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Port McNeill gets yarn bombed

Colourful crochet creations pop up all over town

Port Hardy Council approves construction of the Multiplex project

Goahead given to “phase one” of the process

Pacific Coastal Airlines in the hot seat at council meeting

Boothroyd noted Pacific Coastal Airlines “Give is larger than the size of our footprint.”

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

BREAKING: Cassie Sharpe adds world championship to Olympic gold

Mount Washington skier defends her crown in France, wins overall halfpipe title

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Most Read