TORONTO - An elderly man in a nursing home died after waiting more than three hours for an ambulance, according to a union spokesman for Toronto’s paramedics.
Mike Merriman, a shop steward with CUPE Local 416, said that EMS received a low-priority call to assist a senior suffering abdominal pain at a nursing home Sunday.
Considered an “alpha call” — meaning it was deemed to be a low priority — an ambulance should have responded within 21 minutes. However, Toronto’s taxed EMS system had its ambulances out on higher priority calls and it took three hours to respond to the senior.
“Regardless of what the call came in for, he died waiting for an ambulance,” said Merriman, who has repeatedly complained of staffing shortages in Toronto’s EMS department. “That’s just unacceptable.” The delay came just days after Toronto hit a point on Dec. 27 when there were no ambulances available to respond to emergencies.