Part 1: Muskoka Paramedic says supports are lacking as the service takes on PSW shifts at LTC homes

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This is a the first part of two submissions by a local Muskoka Paramedic who wishes to remain anonymous. This paramedic's desire was to express to the community how this incredibly important service is coping with the pandemic and how their profession has been lacking support within the governmental and bureaucratic circles. As you're reading this remember that these men and women are on the front lines of this crisis. We asked this paramedic what it's like being in their profession these days.

Anonymous Muskoka Paramedic

"There doesn’t feel like there’s much support out there, both from management, the district, and the province. To be honest we are definitely feeling the added stress. Paramedics are literally the first point of contact to really sick patients. When we make first contact with someone, it’s up to us to quickly screen them as covid positive, meaning high risk, or covid negative, meaning lower risk of having covid. I’ve personally had patients who later tested positive for covid, and have had a patient die from covid related respiratory complications.

Additionally, we are back filling PSW shifts at the Pines because they are short staffed. We ran drive through swabbing tests all summer and continue to swab people at assessment centres, and we are now being asked to vaccinate hospital and LTC staff. All before getting offered a vaccine ourselves. We’re constantly left out when government provides support to “frontline workers” or even “healthcare workers." For paramedics to be included in this category, like doctors, nurses, fire fighters, and police; paramedic unions have had to fight the provincial and local governments tooth and nail. Still to this day in Ontario, paramedics aren’t considered an “essential service” like fire and police.

As far as safety goes, we are confident in our PPE and have an excellent record thus far of hand hygiene and PPE compliance. On messy covid calls, there could be more in the way of protocols for what to do after the call, but other than that they’re taking every precaution in line with most other services."

Part 2 of this submission will be published on Monday Jan. 18 and will focus on what this paramedic suggests needs to take place at the municipal and provincial level to adequately support this important healthcare profession.

To support our content you can donate to Muskoka Post Here: MUSKOKA POST DONATION

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