Grieving Enderby mom says defibrillator didn't work when ambulance finally arrived to help her baby

A mother's worst nightmare

A grieving Enderby mother is blaming the death of her six-month-old daughter on ambulance delays, equipment failures and callous treatment at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

Kim Wall says her daughter Brynleigh died on April 21 this year after an almost hour-long wait for an ambulance.

"Over 45 minutes, we made five calls to 911," says Wall, after her infant went into cardiac arrest and was found unconscious in her crib.

Finally, an ambulance arrived just after 2 a.m., even though it was coming from Armstrong, which is just a 10-minute drive away.

During the wait, Wall's father in law did CPR on the tot for 45 straight minutes before paramedics arrived.

Wall says once they did get there, the infant defibrillator on the ambulance wasn't charged and was of no use.

Brynleigh was rushed to Vernon Jubilee Hospital and doctors maintained a heartbeat for four hours before she passed.

But they refused to put her on life support or give her oxygen, the mother alleges.

They also refused to transfer her to either Kelowna General or BC Children's Hospital.

"I don't know why they wouldn't put her on a ventilator," the mother says.

It's still unknown what caused little Brynleigh's death, and Wall is awaiting autopsy results. She's also contemplating a malpractice lawsuit.

She believes it may have been a case of sudden infant death syndrome, commonly knowns as SIDS.

An angry Wall, who also has a two-year-old at home, says she's "very frustrated" at the medical system.

"A Code Blue infant should be their first priority," she said.

"The only thing that could have saved her life (the defibrillator) that night didn't work.

"We called 911 over and over and wondered 'why aren't they here?'" she recalled.

"If they were faster, something more could have been done."

Provincial Health Services Authority spokesperson Jessica Holmes said a review has been opened on the case, and it is working with the Patient Care Quality Office to address the family's concerns.

She confirmed that BC Emergency Health Services received a call at 1:40 a.m. on April 21 to respond to a patient at a residence in Enderby.

"The closest available ambulance was immediately dispatched, and paramedics arrived at the residence 15 minutes later, at 1:55 a.m., and the patient was transported to hospital," Holmes said in an email.

Police were already on scene providing care when paramedics arrived, she added.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family for their heartbreaking loss."

An Interior Health spokesperson said the organization is sorry for the mother’s loss, but is legally restricted from commenting on individual patient circumstances.

Complaints about the health-care system can be made through the Patient Care Quality Office at IH.

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