Morley medical crisis exposes inadequate EMS Surge Capacity

Alberta Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann says the Morley medical crisis may have put Calgary patients at risk due to EMS resources being stretched beyond capacity by the crisis.

EMS said at least 6 ambulances arrived on the scene to deal with 15 patients on the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. Tragically, one child died and 14 others were hospitalized yesterday.

Dr. Swann stated, “This issue demonstrates EMS’s lack of surge capacity. This event stretched EMS to its limits. Sources indicated EMS needed to call off-duty paramedics to meet the extra demand and an ambulance from Priddis, another from Kananaskis and two from Calgary had to be called in. EMS was clearly under-resourced for this mass patient event.

“Sources indicated a city-wide appeal was made to find 5 ambulances free to travel an hour out to Morley. This left the City vulnerable to any large patient event and highlights the fact that we cannot safely manage a major disaster.”

“The issue could have been worse. Morley has a unique-in-Alberta policy in place that forbids flexing their ambulances to other jurisdictions. Without this policy in place it could have potentially made this tragedy much worse.

“95% of patient transfers are taking over 15 minutes in Alberta.The Minister could end excessive hallway waits tomorrow by directing AHS, as they have in the UK and Israel, to make 15 minutes the standard transfer time from EMS to nursing staff within15 minutes. Failure to fix this will inevitably result in preventable loss of life.”

Dr. Swann is available for interviews at 1:15 pm on the “INS” at the Alberta Legislature. He is also available by phone or skype.