British Columbia

Mother of murdered teen Dario Bartoli sues provincial government over ambulance response

The mother of 15-year-old Dario Bartoli, who was badly beaten in a South Surrey park in December of 2014, is suing B.C.'s Ministry of Health and a 911 dispatcher, claiming her son died because of slow ambulance response.

Emergency health services and 911 dispatcher to blame for son's death, says Junko Iida

Dario Bartoli died when he and a friend were attacked by a group of unkown youth while walking home late at night. (Facebook )

The mother of 15-year-old Dario Bartoli, who was badly beaten in a South Surrey park in December of 2014, is suing B.C.'s Ministry of Health and a 911 dispatcher, claiming her son died because of slow ambulance response.

The lawsuit is unusual in that it specifically names the dispatcher involved in sending an ambulance to the scene on the night of Dec. 13.

At 2:46 a.m. PT, the Surrey RCMP dispatch centre called Emergency Health Services (EHS) requesting ambulance services, but the call was placed on hold for two minutes and 47 seconds, according to the statement of facts filed by Junko Iida in B.C. Supreme Court.

The court documents claim an ambulance arrived on the scene at 3:10 a.m.

Bartoli was transferred to Peace Arch Hospital where he died of his injuries.  

According to homicide investigators, Bartoli and his friend were swarmed by a group of unknown males near Bakerview Park, in Surrey, B.C.

Violently assaulted

Bartoli was stabbed several times in the abdominal area and struck on the head with a crowbar, according to the court documents. 

He was seriously injured and bleeding profusely. 

A resident called RCMP when Bartoli and the other injured male made it to a nearby home. 

Wrong information 

Bartoli's mother alleges during the course of the 911 emergency call erroneous information was input into the EHS system, resulting in a Code 2 response — instead of the more urgent Code 3 response.

Dario Bartoli loved BMX and skateboarding. (Facebook )

The EHS ambulance could have arrived at the scene 11 minutes sooner than it did had the call been correctly coded, according to the notice of civil claim.

Code 3 vs Code 2 

According to the court documents, a Code 3 dispatch allows ambulance drivers to travel faster to the emergency with vehicle sirens and lights on.

Code 2 assigns a basic life support ambulance, without emergency sirens and lights.  

A Code 3 dispatch also assigns an ambulance closer to the incident and is for acute patient conditions. 

Code 2 is for non-life-threatening patient conditions. 

Fire chief 

Surrey's fire chief has also voiced unease about the ambulance response time around Bartoli's death. 

On Jan. 20, 2015, Len Garis wrote to Linda Lupini, executive vice-president of B.C. Emergency Health Services

"I am writing you to inform you about some serious concerns over the (Bartoli) incident, as well as what appears to be inconsistencies with how the pre-hospital care system operates," Garis wrote. 

The letter with some lines blacked out was released by the City of Surrey after a media outlet filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. 

Iida's lawsuit alleges the death of her son was caused, and/or contributed to, by negligence.

'No single individual responsible'

Lupini told CBC she could not comment on the status of the dispatcher.

"Our statement of defence will be filed and it will be a matter of public record but out of respect for privacy and the legal process, we don't want to comment at this time on any details related to that night or this event," she said.

Linda Lupini, Executive Vice-president of BC Emergency Health Services, says it's rarely a single decision, action or individual who is responsible for the outcome. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

"These are complex situations. It's rarely the case that a single decision, action or individual [is] responsible for whatever the outcome might be."

"We respond to almost half a million calls a year. It's not unusual in the health system to have a family come back and file claims for things like this. I respect ... we all respect her legal right to come back and file a claim. We understand the devastation she must have felt. Everybody who was involved in this event and in this call  felt very saddened by the outcome."

There have been no arrests made in the case. 

None of the claims made by Iida have been proven in court. 


  • A previous version of this story named the dispatcher who is being sued.
    Feb 06, 2017 4:20 PM PT

About the Author

Belle Puri


Belle Puri is a veteran journalist who has won awards for her reporting in a variety of fields.

With files from Manjula Dufresne