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An 87-year old Toronto woman died after a three hour wait for emergency services.
(J.P. Moczulski/Canadian Press)

Questions are being raised following a CBC investigation into the death of a Toronto woman who waited more than three hours for an ambulance in December.

The 87-year-old woman complained of abdominal pain and body aches on Dec. 30. 2012. As other emergencies in the city took priority during her wait, she sat at her retirement home in pain.

Inquiries as to the whereabouts of the ambulance were met with explanations of "limited resources."

EMS had, in fact, dispatched seven ambulances, but they were all diverted to handle more urgent calls.

After being notified that the woman had stopped breathing, EMS was there within five minutes of the change of status - but the woman had died.

  • Read more: Woman dies after waiting 3 hours for ambulance
This unfortunate trend may be worsening in Canada. The country's aging population may be straining the system, especially where budgetary challenges exist.

Some regions are trying to craft new solutions.

In a Halifax pilot project, for instance, a few paramedics are chosen and trained to meet senior's health care exclusively. Their 12-hour shifts focus on treatment on location, which has eliminated thousands of unnecessary trips to the hospital.

Paramedics work with nursing home staff and the patient's family doctor to determine the best way to treat the patient.

How reliable are EMS services in your region? Have you or a loved one every needed the services of an ambulance? If so, did you have a good or bad experience?

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Tags: community, POV

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