BC Ferries helped respond to nearly 340 medical emergencies last year

Crews trained in first aid, unscheduled runs or altered timetables help health care system response throughout B.C. coast

The Baynes Sound Connector was recently delayed in order to allow the emergency transport of a patient from Denman Island

Emergencies don’t follow ferry schedules and they don’t wait until a ship is safely docked.

And that is why BC Ferries is prepared to turn into an emergency response team whenever the need arises.

Crew members handled 196 medical emergencies on board ships, or in terminals during the 2015/16 fiscal year and supported B.C. Ambulance paramedics with another 143 requests for assistance, the ferry corporation announced Wednesday.

“I am very proud of our trained staff members and crew who assist passengers in medical distress or respond to the call to assemble a crew for an extra unscheduled sailing,” vice-president of customer services Corrine Storey said in a media release. “While these incidents can sometimes cause delays, we are happy to provide a safe environment as well as transportation for critical patients from the smaller coastal communities we serve.”

The B.C. Emergency Health Services calls can often consist of a crew being hastily assembled in the middle of the night to transport the residents of places like Sointula, Thetis Island and Gabriola Island over to hospitals on the big island for emergency treatment. Or they involve holding ships at the terminal, or returning them to port, to link up with an ambulance.

Recent incidents include holding the Baynes Sound Connector for 12 minutes for a patient from Denman Island, and a crew being assembled in the dead of night for the Powell River Queen in order to make an unscheduled emergency run from Quadra Island to Campbell River.

“Our working relationship with BC Ferries is an important part of our provincial health care delivery system,” said Jodi Jensen, chief operating officer for BCEHS. “With the help of BC Ferries, our paramedics are able reach our patients in coastal and remote communities and provide them with the emergency medical care that they need.”

In addition to the transportation service, BC Ferries also offers hands-on medical assistance when needed through its more than 800 staff trained in occupational first aid.

“For more serious incidents on board the vessels, crew will make public address announcements requesting assistance from registered medical professionals such as doctors or nurses who are travelling on board, and also call BCAS to have paramedics meet the patient at the terminal. BC Ferries appreciates the assistance all of these professionals provide,” the media release states.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

Thousands filled Centennial Square in June for the peace rally for Black lives, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd in the U.S. (Black Press Media file photo)
Survey seeks input on racism in Greater Victoria

Confidential answers to inform work with immigrants and marginalized people

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Most Read