Sumeet Gill, respiratory therapist, Tyson, CN Rail employee, Dr. Greg Haljan, critical care physician and medical director, Greg Sills, critical care nurse standing outside in a parking lot during the night
Submitted by Carrie Stefanson, Senior Public Affairs Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

Medical teams bring the intensive care unit to a seriously injured patient from a landslide in the Fraser Valley.

An emergency medical team trudged through intense winds and floods, and traveled by road and rail to care for a patient who had been trapped in a landslide during the atmospheric river that devastated B.C.

With access to Hope severed by landslides and flood waters, and high winds affecting air transport, the team from Surrey Memorial Hospital – comprised of Dr. Greg Haljan, medical director, Sumeet Gill, respiratory therapist and Greg Sills, critical care nurse – packed supplies and medication, and drove to the Fraser Valley on November 15, 2021. 

Dr. Aseem Grover, an emergency physician from Fraser Canyon Hospital, met the team in Abbotsford where they gathered additional medication to support the Fraser Canyon Hospital and long-term care residents in the Hope area.

First responders escorted the group on back roads around flooded areas to meet up with CN Rail staff in Chilliwack who carefully transported the mini-ICU team on a “track vehicle” along rail lines flanked by debris.

The medical team at Fraser Canyon Hospital stabilized the patient but knew they urgently needed a higher level of care and transport as soon as possible. The Surrey Memorial Hospital team supported their colleagues in Hope until an air ambulance was able to transport the patient on November 16, 2021.  

“This truly was a collaborative effort,” says Dr. Greg Haljan.

“It would not have happened without the leadership of Laurie Leith, vice-president of Regional Hospitals and Health Services, the critical care team at Surrey Memorial Hospital, the coordination of Surrey RCMP, CN Rail, the on-the-ground guidance of Abbotsford Police and other first responders,
BC Emergency Health Services, and of course, our colleagues at Fraser Canyon Hospital who provide exemplary care day-in-and-out, and are driven to find creative ways to always put their patients first.”

The patient was flown by air ambulance to a Lower Mainland hospital and is recovering.

Watch the journey on the rail line here:

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