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Lack of ambulances forces Calgary police to transport stabbing victim to hospital

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Calgary police officers transported a man who was the victim of a stabbing and suffering critical injuries to hospital Sunday evening due to a shortage of ambulances in the area.

Officers were called to the scene of a serious assault near Eighth Avenue and First Street S.W. around 5:30 p.m.

“He was deemed to be in critical condition at the time of arrival at hospital but was eventually upgraded to stable condition,” read a statement from police.

CPS says the incident does not appear to be random and no suspects are in custody.

But the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) — the union that represents health-care workers — says these types of incidents will continue to happen until the province can take action.

“Unfortunately these types of situations stopped being unusual a long time ago,” reads a statement from HSAA president Mike Parker.

In November alone, HSAA recorded at least 269 incidents where ambulance response times in Alberta exceeded 30 minutes.

That number is 325 when help was coming from more than 30 minutes away. There were about 506 responses from out of jurisdiction.

“If it was the response time that made the officers feel compelled to transport the patient, these types of long responses are no longer irregular,” said Parker.

CTV News Calgary was contacted by a health-care worker saying EMS crews were more than 28 minutes away after the stabbing. CTV News has yet to independently verify that timeline.

Asked about the issue on Tuesday, Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping said the system is "challenged" right now.

"We understand there is an issue and we are going to fix it," he said.

Dusty Myshrall with the Alberta Paramedics Association said it's time for the province to question EMS leadership.

"The fact that it even happens in Alberta, in Canada, is outrageous," he said.

"People dial 911, the expectation is an ambulance is coming and it will be there."

Police say they are continuing to investigate the stabbing.

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