Medical emergency leads to ship’s u-turn

A medical emergency had HMCS Vancouver making a u-turn on its way to Hawaii with HMCS Regina. 

On July 11, Cdr David Mazur, Commanding Officer of Vancouver, received a report from medical personnel that a crew member was experiencing a serious medical issue. 

The ship was out of helicopter range, and 1,800 nautical miles away from Hawaii. 

The captain decided to change course and bring the ship to a destination whereHealth emergency brings Vancouver home

“We knew the patient had to get ashore, probably in the next 24 hours or so,” said Cdr Mazur. 

When the sailor’s condition worsened, extra measures were taken. 

“It became clear the patient would need potentially life-saving surgery within the next few hours, so we had to find a way to meet search and rescue a lot sooner,” recounts the ship’s captain.

Engineers revved up both engines and took manual control. They also drained the ballast tanks to make the ship lighter so it could travel faster. 

Vancouver rendezvoused with a Comox search and rescue helicopter 240 miles off the shore of Vancouver Island, marking the farthest possible trip by a Cormorant helicopter. The patient was airlifted off of Vancouver at 2:30 a.m. July 12 and taken to Victoria General Hospital for surgery. The sailor was released from hospital two days later.

Vancouver won’t be heading back to Hawaii.Cdr Mazur says the display of teamwork between Vancouver’s crew and search and rescue, and getting the crew member to safety was what was important. 

“It all went very smoothly,” says Cdr Mazur. “The work that was done between the crew, the engineers, and search and rescue made it so we could get the patient the medical attention they required.”

Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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