Rock climbing

Halifax woman waits nearly 3 hours for ambulance after rock climbing fall – Halifax

A week after an elderly couple opened up about their experience of waiting for hours for an ambulance at Point Pleasant Park, a Halifax woman shares a similar story.

Amy Klinger was trying to squeeze through a fast climb before work at Seven Bays Bouldering on Gottingen Street on October 12 when she suffered a painful fall.

Klinger said when she slipped, she badly broke her ankle. Staff immediately called 911, but after two hours help had still not arrived despite the proximity to the hospital.

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“We managed to get me from the floor to a bench and it was, it wasn’t good, just moving that very short distance was indescribably painful,” Klinger said.

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She began to wonder if help was coming.

“All you can focus on is how badly you want them to get there,” Klinger said. “When you feel that kind of pain and you’re in that situation and there’s that kind of uncertainty, it really adds a layer.”

It took about an hour before an ambulance arrived on the scene. Klinger was informed that the day was busy with more serious calls than usual.

“These hours of waiting and uncertainty,” Klinger said. “It made the experience so much worse than it needed to be. I feel like so much of that pain was so unnecessary.

Klinger wanted to share her story after hearing about a similar situation in Point Pleasant Park last month.

Donna McInnis and her husband Kevin were walking along a retaining wall to spot a large aircraft carrier docked in Halifax Harbor on October 30 when Kevin fell and injured his hip.

Donna said it took two and a half hours for the ambulance to arrive, which she didn’t think was possible with the park less than four kilometers from the QEII emergency department.

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Couple wait hours for ambulance after injury in Halifax park

In a statement to Global News, the facilities manager at Seven Bays said staff were surprised by such a long wait for Klinger.

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“Obviously this speaks to the overwhelming pressure on our first responders,” Shahin Mohammadi said. “We were surprised at the unusually long response time that day and hope that many of these recent reports will help in taking action to remedy the problem.”

EHS reports that day that call volume was high locally and provincially and hospitals were experiencing long offload delays. Data released by the Department of Health shows that that week, EHS answered more than 2,400 calls, with an average offload time of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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The business manager of the union representing paramedics in Nova Scotia said cases like Klinger’s take a heavy toll on workers.

“These situations are very difficult for our paramedics because our paramedics want to get there quickly,” Kevin McMullen said. “They want to do the job they’re trained to do and unfortunately when you’re behind like that it plays into their mindset.”

Members are leaving the province for better paying jobs and better working conditions, according to McMullen.

Meanwhile, the executive director of provincial operations with EHS Operations reports that a review takes place when a case resembles Klinger’s.

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“We really understand how stressful these situations are and we take them very seriously,” said Charbel Daniel. “When such a situation arises, we do a full quality review of the call itself.”

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McMullen and Daniel add that work is underway to help reduce the strain on the system. Both point to the deployment of unique paramedic response units for low-risk calls as well as the addition of a physician, registered nurse and clinical support paramedic to the EHS 911 team as means improve health care in the province.

Klinger said her experience was not unique and more needed to be done to help paramedics.

“I just think we should be able to rely on our healthcare system a little more.”

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