Quebec paramedics refused to help dying Maine man after snowmobile crash, brother says
American tourist Glenn Dumont died March 2 after waiting 2 hours to get medical attention
The brother of an American tourist who died after a snowmobile crash north of Quebec City earlier this month says paramedics refused to help his brother because they didn't want to go to the scene of the accident, a wooded area three kilometres from the nearest road.
Glenn Dumont, 69, a former college football star from Maine, died March 2 near the town of L'Etape, 100 kilometres north of Quebec City, after his snowmobile collided with another.
Dumont's brother, Lewis Pelletier, was with him.
"I think it's absolutely terrible. They really dropped the ball," Pelletier said in an interview with CBC News.
Paramedics refuse to help
Pelletier said he and his brother loved snowmobiling and had travelled to Quebec to ride trails dozens of times.
"I was the fourth sled back. We had helmet communicators so I actually heard the collision. and then three seconds later I came on the scene," Pelletier said.
Pelletier says his brother was badly injured, unconscious but still breathing. He said other snowmobilers stopped to help, and he called 911. One of the other snowmobilers headed towards the nearest road, three kilometres away, to meet the ambulance.
"He came back within 15 minutes, and he said, 'The ambulance is at the end of the trail. It's three minutes away, but they refuse to come up to the scene,'" Pelletier said.
The paramedics who responded apparently said government regulations prevented them from going to the scene.
2 hours with no help
After 45 minutes, Dumont stopped breathing. Pelletier said a snowmobiler began performing CPR while another returned to the ambulance with an offer to drive the paramedics to the scene on the back of the snowmobile.
They refused again.
Pelletier said one of the other snowmobilers was finally able to dig out a sled that had been buried in a snowbank after the crash.They strapped his brother to the sled and took him out to the ambulance, but it was too late.
It had been two hours since the crash, and Dumont was likely already dead.
Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said Tuesday a coroner will investigate Dumont's death.
"We all need to understand that in this province paramedics do have the possibility to provide services on snowmobile trails, but only under specific conditions where they have to make sure security is there," Barette told reporters at the National Assembly.
"Light has to be shed on this event to see if things went according to protocol," he continued.
Regulations 'absolutely asinine'
Quebec government regulations dictate that ambulance technicians or paramedics can refuse to intervene if they believe taking action might put them in danger.
The regulations say they may travel to a scene on a snowmobile or an ATV, but only if they have proper safety equipment such as a helmet, and that they should be accompanied by a police officer, firefighter or other designated volunteer.
It's terrible! It's not even humane.- Glenn Dumont's brother, Louis Pelletier
"I don't know of this policy. I have no idea about it. But they had people that were willing to take them there," Pelletier said.
"To be so close – and to have help right there! They were there! They were absolutely there! Why even have an ambulance, but, 'We won't do this, and we won't do that?' That is absolutely asinine, in my books," Pelletier said, his voice rising in frustration.
Pelletier said he and his brother have visited Quebec so often for snowmobiling trips that they regularly receive tourism brochures in the mail.
"They're advertising the snowmobile industry. Little do we know that this is all they do is advertise, but if you get in trouble, you're on your own. That's terrible! It's not even humane," Pelletier said.
- An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of Glenn Dumont's brother. His name is Lewis Pelletier.Mar 16, 2016 8:59 AM ET