Rousselle alarmed by absent ambulances

By Robert Frank

Jean Rousselle says that Laval’s ambulance service is broken and he wants Health Minister Dr. Réjean Hébert to fix it, without delay.

“We’re the third-largest city in Quebec with a population well over 400,000, yet sometimes there are no ambulances anywhere in Laval,” the Vimont MNA told The Suburban during an interview at the Cité de la santé superhospital, Feb. 21. “It’s a big problem.”

He wants Dr. Hébert to ensure that at least two ambulances are stationed in Laval at all times.

“All-too-often, Urgences santé assigns ambulances elsewhere that are supposed to be serving Laval in order to fill a gap in other cities or to shuttle patients,” Rousselle explained.

To illustrate how badly ambulance service has deteriorated, he recounted a horror story that occurred earlier this month.

“Three weeks ago, it took 39 minutes for an Urgences santé ambulance to respond to a call in Ste. Rose,” he said. “The ambulance that was dispatched had to get there from LaSalle [in southeast Montreal].”

“It was a Priority 1 call, to boot,” emphasized Rousselle, a former Laval police officer. “That’s the highest level of medical emergency.”

According to government service standards, emergency medical responders ought to reach the scene within nine minutes.

“The current level of service is inadequate,” he asserted. “I’m worried that, before long, people will die because of the delay.”

According to fire chief Robert Séguin, Laval firefighters are trained and equipped to help the injured, while they await an ambulance.

“Each fire station has at least one defibrillator on a truck,” Séguin told The Suburban. “Firefighters are trained to use them. In addition (see accompanying report), Laval Police officers have defibrillators in every patrol car.”

Rousselle acknowledged that Laval police officers and firefighters are serving as a stopgap, “but it doesn’t replace the experience of a paramedic. They don’t have the same degree of training.”

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