Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. mayor questions air ambulance investigations

The mayor of the Northern Peninsula community of St. Anthony is raising questions about whether three incidents involving the air ambulance service in Labrador were thoroughly investigated.
Mayor Ern Simms is raising questions about the air ambulance in Labrador following an access to information request about the service. ((CBC))

The mayor of the Northern Peninsula community of St. Anthony is raising questions about whether three incidents involving the air ambulance service in Labrador were thoroughly investigated.

One of the province's two air ambulances was moved from St. Anthony to Happy Valley-Goose Bay around the end of May after Health Minister Jerome Kennedy said there was a greater need to have the service based in central Labrador.

Now, Mayor Ern Simms is accusing health officials of not doing due diligence in their investigation into three incidents surrounding the response time of the air ambulance service.

In one case, a 56-year-old man died in Labrador City after an industrial accident in March. In another, a premature baby died 90 minutes before the ambulance arrived.

Simms filed an access to information request asking for reports into the cases, however he said the reply from health officials suggest the incidents were not investigated.

"You know, I was of the belief after reading of these incidents, later of course, that reports were to be done. Investigations were to be carried out and everything else. But when I requested it, I was told there was no such thing."

Simms's requests stems from an ongoing dispute with the province over transferring the air ambulance from one town to another. Simms said the response he received from the government following his inquiry isn't encouraging.

"In fact, in one I believe in one there was you know a tragedy, a death involved and any incident with respect to government services where that occurs, there has to be an investigation, especially with respect to a government service," he said. "You know, to think that in my mind it wasn't done, there's negligence or something there somewhere."

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