WINNIPEG – Manitoba has the worst record for stroke and heart attack patients getting to hospital by ambulance.
That’s according to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
Health officials in Canada recommend that anyone with signs of a stroke or heart attack call an ambulance. Paramedics can best assess the patient, take them to the hospital best suited to treat them, and warn the hospital they’re coming.
“So that immediately on arrival the person can go direct to the CT scan, for example,” explains Dr. Leeanne Causaubon at Toronto Western Hospital. “Instead of getting into a bed in the emergency department.”
But in Manitoba, only half of patients who had a stroke showed up at the hospital in an ambulance in 2014-2015.
And only one-third of heart attack patients took an ambulance. Both those numbers are the worst among all the provinces and well under the Canadian average.
Canada-wide, lower-income people were slightly more likely to use an ambulance than higher-income people. Younger people were less likely to arrive with flashing lights and sirens.
“Paramedics can assess the person, they can potentially start different types of assessments or treatments and they pre-notify the hospital,” says Dr. Causaubon. “For stroke, for example, there are 2-million brain cells per minute that can be permanently if we do not restore the blood flow. Similarly with a heart attack, the damage is happening minute-by-minute.”
Manitoba has some of the highest ambulance fees in the country. The new Progressive Conservative government has pledged to reduce them.
How Manitoba Compares To Canada
Stroke patients who do not arrive by ambulance:
Heart attack patients who do not arrive by ambulance: