Ornge air ambulance couldn't get to deadly crash
Published Wednesday, May 9, 2012 10:58PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 8:16AM EDT
Progressive Conservative MPP Frank Klees claims that staffing issues meant Ornge couldn't send an air ambulance to the driver of a cube van who died after a collision with a dump truck early Wednesday morning.
Klees made the accusations in question period Wednesday after a horrific crash that saw the cube van torn to pieces on a road near Stouffville, northeast of Toronto.
Klees said transcripts of the emergency call show the air ambulance was requested, but Ornge said it did not have the resources to respond to the call.
"We know that, ultimately, the patient was transferred by land ambulance, and we know that the patient died," Klees told reporters after question period.
The victim of the crash has been identified as Richard Ribeiro, 28, an Oshawa husband and father to a toddler.
Ribeiro worked for his father-in-law's construction company and was on his way home after a night shift, driving along Bloomington Road.
At 6:45 a.m., Ribeiro was just minutes away from the construction yard when he crossed the median near two dump trucks carrying soil.
Police said it appears the cube van Ribeiro was driving and one of the trucks clipped one another as they passed. The second dump truck moved to avoid the collision and flipped on its side.
It took the Jaws of Life 15 minutes to extricate him from the crumpled white cube van.
When an Ornge ambulance was not available, Ribeiro was transported by ground ambulance to the Markham Stouffville Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The driver of one of the dump trucks had minor injuries.
Ornge later said it has two helicopters. One was already on another call. The other could not attend because of overtime regulations.
Riberio's family is calling for answers. His father, Jorge Ribeiro, believes having the air ambulance respond may have saved his son's life.
"If the air ambulance would have picked him up in that moment, my son, in this moment, would be still alive and I wouldn't be in this situation," Jorge Ribeiro told CTV News.
Klees said this tragedy shows that staffing issues at the air ambulance company, which the Liberal government said it was addressing, are ongoing.
"It's very obvious that the staffing issue that was put forward as a major concern still hasn't been addressed," Klees said.
Health Minister Deb Matthews told reporters that she had requested an investigation into the incident.
"My heart goes out to the family and I think it's very important that we actually let that investigation unfold," Mathews said.
As the investigation continues, Riberio's family said they are hoping their son's death is not used for political purposes, or to further an agenda at Queen's Park, but they do want problems with Ornge to be fixed, so this doesn't happen to another family.
With files from CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman