Coroner’s report into paramedics deaths called “offensive” and “reckless”

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

The Ambulance Paramedics of BC describes the coroner’s reports into the deaths of two paramedics four years ago as “offensive” and “reckless.”

President Bronwyn Barter says the coroner’s report indicates driver Jo-Ann Fuller “likely fell asleep” at the wheel after transferring a patient from Tofino to Port Alberni before the ambulance drifted off highway four and tumbled down a 33-metre embankment into a lake.

“Not only was the coroner’s report four years after the fact, it was very untimely, it was offensive, and I think in talking with the family, they agree with the word offensive as well, because the report contains alot of speculation, and not alot of fact.”

She adds “Unless you have the facts of what actually happened that day, or there was a witness, that’s when I think someone can conclude what actually happened, but I think it’s a little but flagrant and reckless to make that kind of speculation in a coroner’s report.”

The report says 59-year-old Fuller and 65-year-old Ivan Polivka had just finished transporting a patient from Tofino to Port Alberni when the ambulance drifted off the highway and tumbled down a 33 meter embankment into a lake.

Both first responders died in the accident.


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  1. How is this offensive? Because it proves that ambulance drivers are human? If there was no sign of a medical issue (heart attack, whatever), then it seems that the driver probably fell asleep. These things happen, get over your arrogant selves.

  2. Well, first of all, we could ask the fire truck drivers and police car drivers what they would think of having their numerous job duties narrowed down to one role….driving. So, offensive? Yes, for that reason alone this report is offensive.

    But allow me to continue, it also seems possible the vehicle had mechanical failure, the road had adverse conditions, the weather was obscuring vision, or yes, maybe the PARAMEDIC driving the unit fell asleep. All possibilities. However, these aren’t addressed in the report. The other telling issue is the finding of “fatigue” has no recommendations on improvement. Let’s just say for argument sake, the BCCS could prove that the PARAMEDIC driving did fall asleep (which they can’t). Perhaps we should ask some questions as to why? Maybe we could dig into why the stable patient, being transferred for a consult with a doctor 4 hours away couldn’t be scheduled for the next day? Or we could ask why this crew may have been so tired? Could it be they cover a pager 24/7 at $2/hr while working a regular day job and then man the otherwise empty position of the night shift to keep an ambulance running in the community? These people ARE human indeed, they feel a duty of responsibility to maintain ambulance staffing so their friends, neighbours and relatives in this small town could sleep with the comfort of knowing that if a call to 911 was placed, a unit would respond within minutes, not hours as is the case across most of rural BC.

    That’s right, they are human, or at least they were until the BC Government killed them with idiotic policies, pay below minimum wage, no oversight and an ambulance response system that is based heavily on employee guilt and threats to perform work “or else.”. Why do they work for BC Ambulance? Because if these heroes didn’t, nobody would.

    So next time you throw around the word “hero” when some fire truck driver puts out a dumpster fire or rescues a cat from a tree, perhaps think of these two who gave everything they had to protect the community, providing a service when no one else can or will; that is what true heroes do. The BC public should be indebted to these two, and the many PARAMEDICS like them, at least enough to investigate the accident thoroughly.