A woman from NS finds her own way to the hospital after a three-hour wait for an ambulance

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An injured elderly woman waited hours slumped in the parking lot of a Dartmouth restaurant for an ambulance that never arrived.

Emergency Health Services confirmed that at 11:25 a.m. Sunday morning an ambulance was requested from Cora’s parking lot on Garland Avenue in Burnside.

A customer who was at the restaurant that afternoon told the Chronicle Herald that a vehicle backed over the woman’s foot. She said staff were trying to comfort the injured woman who was lying on the sidewalk.

The customer said a server told her what happened and the woman’s foot appeared to be broken.

Almost two hours after the initial call, a Halifax Regional Firefighter arrived to help the woman. By then it was 1:30 p.m. Firefighters assessed her and waited about an hour and a half for paramedics to arrive, according to Halifax Regional Fire District Acting Chief Robert Hebb.

Shortly before 3:00 p.m., the patient elected to self-medicate and was taken to hospital by a friend.

When the Herald spoke to Hebb on Tuesday, he was unaware of the morning 911 call. He said a man at the scene of the incident called 911 about five minutes before the dispatch firefighters. The man called an ambulance and said it was the second such call to 911 asking for paramedics to be dispatched to the scene. But at the time, 911 said it had no record of the first call, the acting chief said.

A Cora employee who was working the day of the incident confirmed that a restaurant employee called 911 around 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she tried to comfort the woman while waiting for an ambulance. She said several calls had been made for an ambulance.

Bud Sanford, senior director of ground operations at EHS Operations, said the agency is deeply concerned about the incident and apologizes to the patient for what she experienced.

“While we cannot provide clinical details on specific calls, from an operational perspective we can say the system was extremely busy Sunday across Nova Scotia,” Sanford said.

“We know that the health care system is currently overstretched and that certain factors, such as provincial unloading delays, health system staffing shortages and emergency department closures, are having a significant impact on the times of ambulance intervention.

A Halifax Regional Police officer was in the area and stopped to help the woman. It was about 10 minutes before firefighters arrived, according to information provided by the force. Spokesperson Const. John MacLeod said the officer checked to see if EHS had been contacted and asked Halifax Fire to be dispatched to the scene.

Police and firefighters both said they had no information about what happened to the woman and did not provide details of her injuries.

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