Hope resident in need of medical attention waited eight hours for plowing

Hope resident in need of medical attention waited eight hours for plowing

Residents called ambulance after long wait; District says EMS take lead in medical situations

Residents are fuming after requests for the city to plow Yale Road for a sick neighbour to get to hospital were not met for nearly eight hours, forcing them to call an ambulance.

The ordeal began Saturday morning as residents of 61702 Yale Rd. woke up to three feet of snow on their street.

Eagle Agecoutay, resident and caretaker at the property, had been feeling ill since Boxing Day.

He said he was having trouble breathing and Friday night had chills like he’d never felt before. Saturday morning he decided he needed to get into town to buy medication for his worsening condition.

“I couldn’t breathe. I had a lung infection. I didn’t know. I found that out last night when I was in hospital,” he said Sunday.

“My infection could have killed me if I was a smoker and all that, but they put me on a breather three times in the hospital.”

One of Agecoutay’s neighbours called the district around 9:30 a.m. Saturday asking for the street to be plowed. The answer from the city, according to another neighbour Derek Roberts, was plows would be there soon.

The neighbour called a second time about an hour later and received the same answer.

By 1 p.m. a plow had not arrived and Roberts decided to phone the district. He said the official on the other line told him the plows would be there in an hour or two.

“I explained the situation. He goes, ‘Does he need an ambulance?’ I’m like, ‘It’s not an emergency – he’s not dying here – but he’s got to get to a hospital soon,’ ” Roberts said.

“He said they were clearing the main routes and they’d get to us when they got to us and if I wanted the plow to come sooner I’d have to phone an ambulance.”

By 5 p.m. the neighbours decided to call an ambulance, as it was getting darker and Agecoutay was feeling worse.

The ambulance arrived and 15 minutes later a snow plow arrived, Roberts said. Crews spent 30 minutes plowing the street, then the ambulance was able to get through to Agecoutay’s residence.

“I feel bad for calling the ambulance. It wasn’t an emergency like he’s having a heart attack or something. I don’t want to use resources,” Roberts said.

“We could have remedied this if the (dispatcher) had just been reasonable.”

Agecoutay said the job was a simple one – less than half a kilometre of straight road to plow – and he is disappointed and saddened by the official response.

“It’s unusual, but it shouldn’t happen, especially for people that are sick,” he said.

“It’s pretty sad. You know, in this day and age, it’s sad that we have the technology but it’s the morals behind it. Where’s the effort?”

He added a medical incident happened last year at Canna Farms on the same stretch of road. The person had to be carried by EMS workers the half-kilometre stretch to where the road was plowed.

John Fortoloczky, chief administrative officer with the District of Hope, stated in an email that the city sets snow removal priorities after careful consideration by council and staff.

“Clearly no municipality has the ability to be everywhere at all times,” he stated.

“These priorities are needed to best address the public safety and mobility interests of the community with the limited equipment available.”

He added staff get numerous calls for service outside the priority areas during snowstorms.

When it comes to medical issues, the district relies on emergency services to make the call on whether snow plows need to be diverted.

“Our staff are not qualified to evaluate and rank the various potential medical and other concerns against each other,” Fortoloczky said. “In this case, as per the emergency protocol, the process worked and the individual received the treatment required. We are all relieved and wish the individual a speedy and complete recovery.”

Agecoutay and Roberts stressed they don’t normally call the city during the winter, but this time it was necessary.

“Every time it snows here, basically we’re trapped for a day or two. And we don’t phone the city; we accept it that that’s part of life living in a rural area,” Roberts said.

“But we did phone the city because this was an unusual situation. We had to get to a hospital and the response was outrageous.”

Roberts would like to see the street put onto a regular rotation of being cleared as many senior citizens and the employer Canna Farms are on the street.

Fortoloczky stated residents who want changes to the snow removal policy or priorities should come to district hall, where their feedback will be recorded.

He added district staff track public concerns during storms and bring them to council if they feel changes are needed.

 

The westernmost end of Yale Road, a stretch of less than half a kilometre, needs to become a priority area for plowing resident Derek Roberts says. (Emelie Peacock photo)

The westernmost end of Yale Road, a stretch of less than half a kilometre, needs to become a priority area for plowing resident Derek Roberts says. (Emelie Peacock photo)

Just Posted

Brandon Hobbs (turquoise shirt), brother of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs, gathers with other family and friends to distribute posters in Chilliwack on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Search efforts expand to Chilliwack and beyond for missing Abbotsford man

Family, friends put up posters in Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope for missing 22-year-old Adam Hobbs

A CH-149 Cormorant from 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of CFB Comox on a training exercise in Chilliwack on June 16, 2021. (William Snow photo)
VIDEO: Military search and rescue training in Chilliwack Wednesday

CH-149 Cormorant and CC-115 Buffalo from CFB Comox participated in downed aircraft rescue simulation

Stock photo by LEEROY Agency from Pixabay
Drop-in vaccination clinics slated in Abbotsford for construction workers

Among three sites in Lower Mainland holding no-appointment clinics in June and July

Linnea Labbee outside the Chilliwack Law Courts on April 1, 2021 on day 16 of her trial in BC Supreme Court. Labbee was convicted April 12 for the fatal hit-and-run of 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian on Dec. 1, 2016. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Sentencing hearing scheduled for 72-year-old Chilliwack woman found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Crown will seek jail time for Linnea Labbee who struck and killed 78-year-old woman in 2016

Chilliwack Spartans Swim Club coach Justin Daly.
Chilliwack Spartans swim coach Justin Daly wins Rubber Boot Award

Daly was recognized in a vote by fellow coaches in the BC Swim Coaches Association

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read