Family of injured Calgary hockey player outraged after ambulance arrives

An ‘extremely high’ call volume is causing an extremely long wait for a stuck young hockey player lying on the ice unable to move, after being hit from behind.

Saiva Brar was trying out for a AAA hockey team on Saturday at Stu Peppard Arena in Calgary. The 14-year-old did his best to impress the coaches, while his father, sister and grandmother watched from the stands.

Minutes into the match, Saiva was hit from behind.

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“I woke up on the ice. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t scream and I couldn’t move my body for a long time,” Saiva said.

Saiva’s father said he didn’t want to panic, but was worried.

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“As a watching dad, you hope he can stand up,” Dampy Brar said. “He didn’t get up. He was not moving.

“He stood still for a long time and that’s when things got real.”

Saiva on the ice with her coach.

Saiva on the ice with her coach.

Courtesy of Dampy Brar

The coach stabilized his son, keeping him calm while keeping his spine and neck stable. One of the coaches called 911.

Seconds turned into minutes. After waiting half an hour, Dampy said another parent in the stands – an off-duty firefighter – stepped in by dialing dispatch.

“He was frustrated and he said, ‘Let me call.’

“When he found out he hadn’t even been dispatched, you saw the intensity in his eyes and he said, ‘Okay, we have to call the fire department and call my boys to get them out. take care of this child,'” Dampy recalls.

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“I was on the ice for 45 minutes. It’s a long time without an ambulance or a stretcher,” Saiva said. “It was a painful experience for me”

His mother, Gurdeep Brar, was not at the arena and was receiving updates from her husband.

She was worried sick and is now outraged at the healthcare system.

“Where are the politicians? Aren’t they the voice of the people? Where is the outrage? Where is their action plan? Gurdeep said.

Saiva wearing a neck brace at Alberta Children's Hospital.

Saiva wearing a neck brace at Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Courtesy of Dampy Brar

” It is shameful. What country do we live in that a 14 year old lays on cold ice and no one shows up to help him? »

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The family’s social media posts were inundated with responses.

“The messages I get are (things like), ‘People are dying because the ambulances aren’t coming.’ It’s a frustrating moment for Canadians right now,” Dampy said.

The family hopes to take action.

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“How many healthcare workers around the world come here and are immigrants who have medical training, and our government doesn’t recognize their credentials? I understand the rules and regulations, but the human body is the same. Why can’t these people be accelerated? said Gurdeep.

In a statement, Alberta Health Services spokesperson Kerry Williamson acknowledged the delay and apologized.

“AHS EMS is currently experiencing extremely high volumes, which is impacting response times. In this case, EMS can confirm that all available ambulances in Calgary were already attending to patients and that there was a delay in response,” the statement read.

“We apologize for the inconvenience the patient has felt while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. EMS would appreciate the opportunity to speak with the family and any inquiries they reach through AHS Patient Relations.

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The Brar family said their teenage son ended up being transported to Alberta Children’s Hospital in a fire department vehicle.

“We are spending more time at the scene on medical calls while waiting for AHS to arrive,” Calgary Fire Chief Steve Dongworth said. “There is no beef with doctors on site, but the system needs care and attention in terms of the number of resources available.”

The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) is leading an independent review of how EMS responded to a fatal dog attack in June.

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It took 30 minutes for an ambulance to get to Betty Ann Williams, 86, who had been fatally attacked by three dogs.

The HQCA will review processes and protocols around EMS response. It was to be completed by the end of September. A spokesperson said there was no update to provide at this time.

“This is an opportunity for us to express an opinion on the system, the system needs to improve,” Dampy said.

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Catherine J. Martinez