Ambulance design changes urged after B.C. man falls out, dies

A coroner’s jury makes recommendations after hearing about death of Ebony Aaron Wood

A coroner’s jury has made seven recommendations after an inquest into the death of a B.C. man who fell out of an ambulance in Quesnel and suffered a fatal head injury.

Ebony Aaron Wood crashed his truck on Nov. 5, 2016, after a fight with his wife. RCMP arrived and took the 36-year-old into custody. He later complained of chest and shoulder pain and was transferred to an ambulance.

On the way to the hospital, he left the back of the ambulance, fell onto the road and hit his head. He died two days later.

READ MORE: Inquest into death of Ebony Aaron Wood begins

The jury, made up of five women and one man, heard testimony this week before coroner Donita Kuzma at Quesnel court.

They made four recommendations for the BC Ambulance Service, mostly related to ambulance design.

They said the vehicle should allow for two-way communication between paramedics, and the rear-door lock should be moved to limit the patient’s access to it.

Visual indicators should be added so both driver and attending paramedic know all doors are closed and locked, the jury said, and routine checks should include parts of the ambulance that are operational while the ambulance is in motion.

The jury also recommended paramedics and RCMP receive more mental health and substance abuse training, while Mounties should tell paramedics about any harmful behavioural issues a patient might have when he or she is transferred to their care.

The inquest heard about his ongoing drug battle, and that his wife believed he’d been using drugs the night of their fight.

Wood’s death was ruled accidental.

A coroner’s inquest aims to make findings of fact, not fault, as well as recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

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