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WILLIAMS LAKE Ambulance paramedics are concerned about the overdose death of a 16-year-old boy in nearby McLeese Lake on February 26, 2001. The boy died after being transported by an ambulance that was not equipped with a life-saving defibrillator.
The youth was not breathing and had no pulse when paramedics arrived, said Richard Vollo, Local CUPE 873 spokesperson. Most ambulances are equipped with a defibrillator to treat this condition but in this case it had been removed a month ago by BC Ambulance Service management.
We were told that this ambulance, because its not used on a regular basis, did not need this equipment, Vollo said. However, it does get used as a back-up. Its gone out nine times this month alone.
The removed defibrillator was donated by the local Rotary Club. BCAS removed this defibrillator that was donated by the community and has not replaced it, Vollo added. Now we are wondering if we could have saved this young mans life had the equipment been available.
CUPE Local 873 will be asking the Ministry of Health officials why this equipment was not on the ambulance. We dont want this tragic event to be repeated, said John Strohmaier, CUPE Local 873 president. This government policy must be changed now to ensure that all residents have an ambulance service they can rely on.
Richard Vollo, Local CUPE 873 spokesperson,
John Strohmaier, CUPE 873 president,
604-728-2741 (cell) - 604-273-5722