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AHS says EMS arrived within nine minutes of Calgary dog attack dispatch

Alberta Health Services (AHS) says it’s reviewed the 911 call involving the 86-year-old woman who died after a fatal dog attack in Calgary’s northwest over the weekend.

They’ve concluded that when the call for EMS was received, an ambulance arrived within nine minutes.

The elderly woman was working in her yard when attacked by three dogs Sunday afternoon.

Calgary police attended the scene around 2 p.m. in the 1500 block of 21 Avenue NW. Neighbours had attempted to intervene in the attack, with the owner eventually removing the dogs. 

The dogs are being held pending an ongoing investigation.

According to new information provided to LWC by AHS, the initial call was received by Calgary 911 and was categorized for police response. That was based on information provided from the scene.

There was communication between CPS and EMS, indicating that police were responding, according to AHS.

“Based on information provided to EMS, the call was triaged as non-life-threatening,” the AHS statement read.

“When CPS arrived on scene, they notified EMS that the patient’s injuries were serious.”

AHS said the call came in at a time when there was “very high EMS call volumes.”

“However, once the call was deemed high priority, an ambulance was dispatched immediately,” the AHS statement read.

They said EMS immediately dispatched an ambulance, which they said arrived on scene nine minutes later.

“AHS is discussing these findings further within EMS and will reach out to CPS to identify any further learnings from this tragic incident,” AHS said.

“Our thoughts are with the woman's family and loved ones at this time, and we have reached out to them.”

Alberta NDP says paramedics have been raising the alarm for months

David Shepard, the Alberta NDPs critic for health, said he was horrified to learn of the Capitol Hill incident.

““I am extremely disturbed that despite a quick response from Calgary bylaw officers, it took 30 minutes for an ambulance to reach the scene,” Shepard said.

“This is far longer than the 12-minute limit AHS sets for the slowest calls in an urban area. According to AHS, there was no ambulance available to respond when the call came in.”

Shepard said Alberta’s ambulance system has been pushed to the brink and that the government, and Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping have to accept responsibility for this incident.