Medavie Health Services Messenger

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Category Archives: Paramedicine

A Paramedic Services Week thank you message from Erik Sande


Paramedic Services Week is being recognized across Canada between May 24-30. This year’s theme is “Pandemic: Paramedics on the Front Line” and reflects the important role paramedics are playing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the hardships and challenges they are facing, they are continuing in their roles on the frontline, providing care as quickly and safely as possible.

In the following video, Erik Sande, President of MHS, takes a moment to thank paramedics for their tireless efforts to keep patients and communities safe. Every day, they are heroes to countless Canadians and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Advanced care paramedic pilot program enhanced and expanded


FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is transforming the advanced care paramedic pilot program by making three existing sites permanent and adding a new site.

“Advanced care paramedics are making a difference for patients when the need arises,” said Health Minister Benoît Bourque. “We are maximizing the use of our health professionals by providing advanced emergency medical services to New Brunswickers.”

Advanced care paramedics provide additional support to ambulances responding to high acuity calls.

Pilot programs in Saint John, Moncton and Bathurst will become permanent programs. A new permanent program will also be introduced in Fredericton.

“Ambulance New Brunswick is committed to providing the best pre-hospital care possible,” said vice-president Matt Crossman. “The expansion of the advanced care paramedic program means the skills of our primary care paramedics will be further complemented with the advanced care paramedics’ scope of practice.”

“Already among the most skilled in the country, Ambulance New Brunswick’s primary care paramedics will continue to deliver essential service to patients when they need it,” he said.

Ambulance New Brunswick provides air and land ambulance service throughout New Brunswick. It serves the province with a team of more than 1,000 health-care professionals, including paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers and critical care flight nurses.

Going above and beyond


Every day, paramedics are putting themselves in harm’s way in order to help others. However, it’s not every day that they receive provincial recognition for such bravery. That is what happened recently when not one but four Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics were recognized for their selfless dedication to patients both over the past year and throughout their careers.

During the Ontario Association of Paramedics conference gala on September 28th, Chatham-Kent paramedics Dave Desmaris and Ryan Willan received the McNally Award for their role in saving a patient involved in a farming accident, while Dave, Murray Dawson and Carolyn Ross were recognized with Emergency Services Exemplary Service Medals for their impressive careers as frontline paramedics.

The McNally Award was named in honour of Dr. Norman H. McNally, who many consider the “father” of the Ontario ambulance system, and is given to recognize conspicuous acts of bravery by paramedics in the performance of their duties. Dave and Ryan were honoured for their response to a patient who became pinned underneath a tractor while clearing tree stumps from his property. Shortly after the tractor rolled onto the driver, it burst into flames and quickly engulfed him. While bystanders attempted to help, Dave and Ryan worked to extinguish the flames and keep the patient calm until they could extricate him. From there, he was transported to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and then air-lifted to the Hamilton burn unit in critical condition.

Dave and colleagues Murray Dawson and Carolyn Ross were also recognized that same evening with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medals. The award, created in 1994 by late Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, recognizes professionals in the provision of pre-hospital emergency medical services to the public, who have performed their duties in an exemplary manner, characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency. Paramedics who qualify must have completed 20 years of exemplary service, including at least 10 years on street level or in air duty with potential risk to themselves.

Congratulations to Dave, Ryan, Murray and Carolyn – well deserved recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty!

Practice makes perfect


For a little over an hour on the morning of September 13th, the Skyxe Saskatoon Airport became the scene of a multi-level emergency response by members of MD Ambulance, the Saskatoon Police Service and the Saskatoon Fire Department. For anyone witnessing the scene, it was an intense operation, with part of the airport under lockdown and paramedics rushing the wounded off to waiting ambulances. However, spectators need not have worried: the event was all part of a live response exercise designed to enhance the airport’s emergency response and improve inter-organizational coordination between the participants.

Preparations for Operation Silver Sky began at 5:45am, with the Red Cross coordinating local school students to act as the wounded and St. John Ambulance doing moulage to ensure the injuries looked as realistic as possible. The exercise itself started at 8:45, at which time paramedics, police and firefighters responded to the terminal to quickly assess and take control of the situation before evacuating the wounded. It was all over by 11am, at which time the participants and the exercise planning committee, which included members of Public Safety Canada, the Skyxe Saskatoon Airport, WestJet and the Saskatoon Health Region, began to evaluate the response.

Mock scenarios such as these are excellent ways for all of our first responders to evaluate their response to emergencies before they actually happen. In this case, Operation Silver Sky gave MD Ambulance the opportunity to assess its emergency communication with other departments, test its Tactical Casualty Care during an active threat, and evaluate how well its paramedics move casualties from ‘hot’ to ‘warm’ zones to be triaged and, if necessary, transported to hospital.

The Future of Paramedicine in Health


The Paramedic Association of Canada’s Paramedicine Across Canada Expo (PACE) was held recently in Quebec City and Medavie Health Services President Erik Sande had the honour of delivering the Day One plenary speech to hundreds of paramedic professionals from across the country. Erik spoke on the topic of the future of paramedicine in health care, detailing how paramedics can and should take a much more active role in delivering primary health care to Canadians.

As Erik explained, demographic trends show that people are living longer but they aren’t necessarily living healthy. The level and type of care patients need today is very different than in the past – it’s no longer one-size-fits-all where everybody needs to show up to the hospital to get the care that they need. The health care challenges we are facing are contributing to significant cost pressures across Canada. More coordinated care delivery by a variety of highly skilled professionals in different settings can really make a difference in how patients access care. A collaborative and integrated approach to primary health care will improve patient experience, help bend the cost curve by generating capacity and improve health outcomes.

Paramedics have a front row seat for many of the health care challenges and can play a greater role in addressing these issues. As an integral part of the patient care plan, regularly collaborating with physicians, nurses and other key health stakeholders, paramedics no longer simply respond to emergencies. They are essential health care providers and their role will only continue to grow within the primary health care space.