May 19th, 2024

How much is a life worth?

By Letter to the Editor on January 16, 2021.

A question for Messrs. Kenney and Shandro, “How much is a life worth?” Let me explain.
A couple years ago, my wife and I visited family for Christmas, returning to Lethbridge on December 26.
I stopped the car and shut the engine off. As I exited the car, my wife asked in a slurred voice “Has the car stopped moving?” I assured her it had, and asked, “Why? What’s the problem?”
As I glanced at the passenger side, I noticed that my wife was bent over, holding on to the door handle. She replied, “I can’t move!”
I quickly came to her, helped her into the house and called 911. I explained the problem and was told that help was on its way and to give her two aspirins to chew.
By the time I got the Aspirins and gave them to her the paramedics had arrived.
From my phone call to their arrival took about five or six minutes (we live a scant three blocks from the nearest fire station where an ambulance was stationed.)
How quickly will help arrive the next time I need assistance? I will have to call Calgary to get the same advice, then the operator will have to call Lethbridge, find the nearest ambulance, which may be anywhere in Lethbridge or Coaldale, undoubtedly taking more than six minutes for help to arrive!
Messrs. Kenney and Shandro claim that consolidating the EMS services will provide better and cheaper care.
If they want to save money, they need look no further than the War Room and their tax breaks for corporations! So my question is, “How much is a life worth?”
If I need future EMS services, and the delay results in a tragedy, I can assure them that I will seek legal retribution!
E. E. Balay

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thank you for the letter. it was brief and very to the point. mr. shandro pay attention.


the nearest ambulance is always dispatched. In your case it was fortunate that the one closest to you was parked at the station. It may well have not been the case as the nearest one may have been in Coaldale. A lot of issues with ambulances is the “hand off” time at the emergency wards. They cannot leave the patient until the hospital staff take control. If all ambulances are tied up or on calls you wait. Has nothing really to do with where your phone call goes. This falls more into line where we want a cop, ambulance, fire and a hospital on every corner. Considering average response times were being touted a few years ago as 8 minutes and excellent, your service was 2 minutes faster. All could have been tied up and your wait would have been longer.