BC Ambulance Service used the overflow parking lot between Superstore and the Washington Inn Apartments as the transfer point for the medical evacuation of two trauma patients involved in a motor vehicle collision in Courtenay on Thursday, Feb. 15. Photo by Terry Farrell

Air ambulance used parking lot for patient transfer because it was most efficient option

Lack of certification for helipad at Comox Valley Hospital not a factor in decision

BC Ambulance Service used the gravel parking lot between Superstore and the Washington Inn Apartments as a transfer area for the medical evacuation of trauma patients from Thursday’s car collision in Courtenay, because that was the most efficient option.

Fatima Siddiqui, media relations for BC Ambulance Service, said when it comes to medical emergencies, the air ambulances will land in the most practical, convenient, and closest spot available – be that an airport, highway, football field, or, as was the case Thursday, an overflow parking lot.

“Ultimately, the pilots will decide where they land,” said Siddiqui. “In this scenario, we had local first responders on the ground that … let us know that the area where we did land was safe for both helicopters to land, so that’s why that was chosen.”

Speculation that the parking lot was used because the helipad at the new North Island Hospital Comox Valley Campus is not yet certified by Transport Canada is misguided, said Siddiqui. She pointed out that when it comes to emergency medical evacuations, certified landing pads are not required.

“It [certification] actually has nothing to do with our decision about where to land. That’s just not necessarily part of the protocol, to [use hospital facilities] where we would not be taking the patient anyway.

“Last week we used a football field. We’ve landed on Highway 1, in Langley, where there are hospitals with certified landing pads. It’s very common for us to just land wherever we are told there is space for our helicopters.”

Siddiqui said the call for two air ambulances was made by crew at the scene of the crash.

“When we have an incident with multiple patients, our triage system allows us to determine what the condition of the patients are. When we have [multiple] patients in critical conditions, we tend not to double up, in terms of putting patients into the same [air] ambulance. In this instance we provided two different ambulances.”

BC Ambulance Service has a fleet of four regular, full-time air ambulances, as well as contracts with carriers throughout the province.

Both helicopters used in Thursday’s transport were from the regular fleet.

Just Posted

Offenders work to repair harm through restorative justice process

The Arrowsmith Community Justice Society says process is alternative to court system

‘Dramatic undersupply’ of workers in Parksville Qualicum Beach: new labour report

Analysis supports what many already know, reinforces need for action: Burden

Outreach group ordered to stop feeding homeless on City of Parksville property

City issued Manna Homeless Society cease and desist order after complaints from public

Christmas lights installed on Alberni Highway

The City of Parksville will put up lights on Nov. 21 and 22

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Extreme case of poop-throwing gives Victoria bike community a bad name

Car centric roads and infrastructure invite cyclist-motorist incidents, says cycling coalition

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Most Read