Ottawa

Wife upset paramedics took 90 minutes to reach cyclist who crashed in Gatineau Park

An experienced cyclist had a bad crash last week in Gatineau Park, and his wife says it took 90 minutes for paramedics to arrive to help treat the numerous fractures and a collapsed lung,

NCC blames equipment failure at barrier for slowing response

Mélanie Malouin says her husband Philippe Reynolds, seen here after the crash, waited 90 minutes for paramedics to arrive. (Mélanie Malouin )

Experienced cyclist Philippe Reynolds of Cantley, Que., was riding his bike with friends last Friday in Gatineau Park when he had a bad fall.

The triathlete, who trains regularly in the park, suffered multiple fractures including broken ribs, as well as a collapsed lung.

His wife, Mélanie Malouin, said it took 90 minutes for paramedics to reach him. Her husband was left cold and shaking, she said, and even lost consciousness while waiting for help.

"It was a very long period of time to wait for someone who was as injured as him," she said in a French interview with Radio-Canada. "If his injuries were worse it could have been fatal." 

Reynolds remains in hospital awaiting further surgeries. (Mélanie Malouin)

Malouin also worries about others who might face similar wait times for urgent care in the park. 

"There is definitely a problem," she told CBC. "I don't want to blame anyone [but] we have lots of questions we want answers to." 

Reynolds remains in hospital in stable condition. Doctors are waiting for his lung to recover before they attempt further surgeries, Malouin said.

Mélanie Malouin says she wants answers as to why it took so long for her husband to receive care. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

Equipment failure delays paramedics 

Gatineau Park is managed by the National Capital Commission. Its parkways are currently closed to vehicles most of the time, opening them up for more active uses such as cycling.

But that meant that when an ambulance arrived at the park last Friday, it was unable to get onto the road leading to the injured cyclist.

Paramedics were supposed to link up with NCC staff at a designated meeting point, but when the ambulance arrived no one from the NCC was there, according to Coopérative des paramédics de l'Outaouais.

An NCC spokesperson said paramedics were delayed getting onto the parkway after "an equipment failure at the P3 parking lot barrier."

The NCC said its response team arrived at the scene and officers provided first aid.

Vehicles not allowed on some Gatineau Park roads 

The seasonal parkway closures have been in place since the spring of 2020. The pilot project continues this year with the addition of a free weekend shuttle service starting in late June.

More than 3,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the NCC to end the vehicle ban. 

The NCC is reminding the public that emergency services are not close by, which has been an issue in the past.

Almost a decade ago, two snowshoers had to wait 18 hours before they were rescued from a closed trail. One man suffered hypothermia and severe frostbite to his legs.

With files from Marie-Jeanne Dubreuil

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