TTC medical delays rise by 23% from 2008

The TTC has informed me that it had 3,683 minutes of medical delays in 2010.

That’s up 23% from 2008 when former TTC chair Adam Giambrone told the Star that there were 2,983 minutes of delays (annually).

Why are they rising?

Is it because of situations like the one on Monday May 16? And what do the TTC’s records say about the May 16 delay?

Are the decisions made by TTC employees in “medical emergency” situations reviewed? Was the Monday May 16 situation reviewed and were any recommendations made?

Why are there so many medical emergency delays on the TTC?

After being stuck in a “medical emergency” delay on the TTC Yonge subway line last Monday, I asked TTC spokesman Brad Ross how the TTC defined a medical emergency. I actually wanted to talk someone the old fashioned way as I thought that would be the most effective method to get the information I needed, however, that didn’t happen, so you’ll have to settle for what I gleaned over Twitter and I’ll let @BradTTCcorrect me if something got lost in Tweet translation.

Basically, it seems that in the period between when an alarm is activated and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrives on the scene, it is up to individual TTC employees — who may or may not be trained in First Aid — to decide whether to get the ill passenger off the train and have the trains resume.

Based on what I and other TTC users have seen, TTC employees consistently seem to prefer to leave passengers on trains rather than help them onto the platform and have the trains proceed. Why they do this is unclear. And whether the TTC reviews and monitors these decisions and suggests best practices is also unclear.

I’m still waiting for the TTC to get back to me with total delay minutes due to medical emergencies and then I will try to compare TTC delay minutes due to medical emergencies to those of other major subways.

How does the TTC define medical emergency?

Toronto’s subway is regularly delayed during rush hour — two to three times a week on my route — for medical emergencies, and the delays are often long enough to make you late by 15 minutes to half an hour.I’ve always wondered just what exactly these frequent medical emergencies are, and Monday morning I found out when my Yonge southbound car was stopped at College for one of them. Here is a cartoonized but accurate version of the photo I took.

The older woman in orange appeared to have fainted. Instead of helping her off the train with a wheelchair or a couple of people to lean on, four uniformed TTC employees allowed her to continue to sit there for at least 20 minutes while they stood around and did nothing except tell me they hoped I hadn’t taken a picture because there were privacy issues.

I have been a regular user of subways in different cities my entire life and have never enountered such a high rate of medical emregencies as here in Toronto. My questions to the TTC are the following:

  1. What is your policy for removing sick passengers from trains?
  2. Is it in conformance with basic principles of first aid?
  3. Was it followed in this case?