Airdrie mother, son transported to hospital by firetruck due to lack of ambulances

·2 min read
Braeden Lousier-Hicks, 10, was transported to hospital via fire truck after he fell and broke his femur Thursday.  (Supplied by Lia Lousier - image credit)
Braeden Lousier-Hicks, 10, was transported to hospital via fire truck after he fell and broke his femur Thursday. (Supplied by Lia Lousier - image credit)

An Airdrie woman is blaming a broken system after waiting nearly an hour for an ambulance, only to end up relying on a fire truck to help.

Lia Lousier says her 10-year-old son, Braeden Lousier-Hicks, fell and broke his femur Thursday. Braeden has a rare genetic disorder which can lead to brittle and soft bones, among a number of other complications.

When Lousier called EMS there were no ambulances available.

She says after 45 minutes, she begged dispatch to call the fire department, which showed up and transported him to hospital.

She says she feels for healthcare workers who are overworked, and says she wants government officials to come see how it is for patients.

"I have a medically complex and fragile child. I am not the only one in Airdrie with a medically complex and fragile child. There's many of us," she said.

"Any one of us could have a medical emergency with our child, any of our children in reality. But specifically, it hits home a little bit more when you have a child that's medically unstable."

Alberta's paramedic union has previously raised concerns about a lack of available ambulances. In just one weekend last month there were at least 31 red alerts in Alberta — which means no ambulance was available to respond when someone called for help.

Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services say they are planning an update next week on actions being taken to support EMS, an AHS spokesperson said Sunday.

2 patients transported to hospital by fire department

The spokesperson said the fire department had to transport two patients to the Airdrie Urgent Care Centre, in two separate incidents. EMS also paused non-urgent inter-facility transfers and instead used these ambulances to respond to 911 calls.

A spokesperson said the long wait time was caused by "unprecedented demand and 911 calls," due to a number of reasons including slippery sidewalks and ongoing pandemic pressure.

"We acknowledge this family's anger and frustration, and we are happy to discuss their concerns with them," they said.

"We understand and appreciate Albertans are concerned. Together with frontline care teams in our hospitals, and our fellow first responders, we are continuing to prioritize all those in critical need, and seeking all avenues of reducing EMS response times."

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