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Woman, 87, dies after it took 3 hours for ambulance to arrive in Toronto Canada

By Mason White 5:53 PM February 14, 2013
Toronto ambulance 

By: Sarah Weiss
(Scroll down for video) A woman died after it took an ambulance about 3 hours to arrive at the scene, according to press reports in Toronto, Canada.

The elderly woman died after seven Toronto ambulances sent to the home were diverted to other calls that were considered a higher priority, according to the documents.

The main Canadian press agency reported this week that its investigation revealed that the woman, who was 87-years-old, suffered from abdominal pain late last year. She died after it took more than three hours for an ambulance to reach her retirement residence because the Toronto Emergency Medical Services has limited resources.

At 3:14 pm her emergency call was given low priority, which according to Toronto EMS guidelines meant an ambulance should have arrived within 21 minutes. However, it was not until she had stopped breathing that EMS upgraded the call to “VSA”, or vital signs absent, that it was given high priority and an ambulance finally arrived at 6:29 pm. By then, the woman was dead.

A dispatcher said that the delayed response was due to limited resources.
“Once we received the notification about the change in the patient’s condition, we responded with our highest level of response and the paramedics were there within five minutes of the change of status of the call,” Toronto EMS said in a statement.

It also said that the Ministry of Health of Ontario and Toronto EMS are investigating the incident.

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