Medical Emergency Realities in Rural, Remote BC

For Princeton and Area residents who may find themselves in the unfortunate position of being sent by ambulance to the ER of another hospital, it is important to know that the ambulance only has the responsibility of providing one way service. Once they deliver the patient, the ambulance must return immediately to their home base. It is the patient’s full responsibility to make return transportation arrangements. This is BC provincial policy.

A few weeks ago, there was a story posted on the Princeton and Area Issues facebook page regarding a Princeton resident who was sent to Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) by ambulance. Unfortunately, the story contained much misinformation and the gentleman in question is displeased that his privacy was invaded and that the story created so much bad press and hard feeling in our community. Based on information received from Interior Health, who looked into this situation, the PRH practitioners and staff acted professionally and followed appropriate procedure.

Stories such as this, based on rumour and misinformation hurt everyone involved. It is understandable that residents feel strongly about their health care but there are better ways for them to express their concerns. Representatives on the Princeton Health Care Steering Committee can be contacted directly or you can send comments or concerns by email to The Committee will make every effort to address the community’s health care concerns in an appropriate and timely manner.

There is no disputing the fact that the policies and procedures that govern Emergency Rooms and BC Ambulance Services can create inconvenience or hardship for provincial residents who live a considerable distance from the closest regional hospital. However, we can’t blame our local leaders, health care practitioners, the ambulance workers, or even IHA for this reality. If change in policy is needed, it needs to come from the provincial government.

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