B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has dismissed a small claims action against BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) from a person who alleged a paramedic stole their medication and provincial health card.
The allegations stem from October 2021, when Richard Greenlaw was taken to hospital by ambulance. In the Jan. 13 decision, they alleged the attending paramedic stole the items.
Greenlaw claimed $3,333 from Provincial Health Services Authority, operating as BCEHS, for the cost of replacing the medications as well as punitive damages.
BCEHS denied Greenlaw’s claims and asked that they be dismissed. It said Greenlaw failed to prove the allegation due to a lack of evidence.
BCEHS also said the paramedic denied taking Greenlaw’s medications and medical card, and that Greenlaw was unsure about when their medications were removed from their home.
Greenlaw said they called an ambulance and said they were slipping in and out of consciousness. The call operator was told paramedics could find a key under their front mat if the door wasn't answered.
“They say that on arrival, the paramedics went through their cupboards and took their medications, then rifled through their wallet and took their medical card without their knowledge or permission,” wrote tribunal member Megan Stewart in the ruling.
Greenlaw said the incident was Oct. 8, 2021 while BCEHS records show it was Oct. 7, 2021.
“I find the BCEHS records more reliable than Mr. Greenlaw’s memory, in part because Mr. Greenlaw admits they were in and out of consciousness,” Stewart said.
The tribunal said the problem with Greenlaw’s case was that they had not shown BCEHS committed a wrongful act involving their personal property.
“They say the paramedic took their medications and medical card without their knowledge or permission but they have provided no supporting evidence of this.”
A sworn BCEHS affidavit detailed the paramedic’s arrival at Greenlaw’s residence. It described Greenlaw as having a low level of responsiveness.
“It shows that the paramedic recorded Mr. Greenlaw’s personal health number and date of birth using his computer at Mr. Greenlaw’s home,” Stewart said. “Finally, it explains that the paramedic did not take Mr. Greenlaw’s medications or medical card with him when he transported Mr. Greenlaw to the hospital, and that he has never stolen medications or personal identification from a patient.”
Stewart found the paramedic had committed no wrongful act and BCEHS was not liable for the cost of the missing medication.
Stewart said Greenlaw asked that she not consider evidence submitted by BCEHS because “some of” it violated doctor-patient confidentiality and could also be slanderous.
“Mr. Greenlaw does not specify the evidence to which they refer,” Stewart said, adding she found all BCEHS evidence relevant.
“I decline Mr. Greenlaw’s request that I not consider BCEHS’s evidence and that it be removed from the CRT’s system,” she said.