Kudos to paramedics

Kudos to paramedics


Ken Blidook is one lucky dude, thanks to Oliver paramedics and hospital staff who saved his life recently.

Very few cardiac arrest patients live to tell their tales to enthralled friends and grandchildren, but Ken is the exception. The 69 year old met death and returned, and is now going for short walks.

The word “hero” is used a lot these days, but we can’t think of anyone more deserving of that label than a paramedic, firefighter or police officer.

BC Ambulance Service paramedics risk everything when they respond to calls; they risk injury, assault, verbal abuse and contagious diseases. Yet they still respond to every call because of their compelling nature to help people in medical crises.

For example, an Oliver paramedic risked her life to save an Okanagan Falls woman whose vehicle plunged into Vaseux Lake in 2011. The paramedic dove under water in an attempt to retrieve the woman from the car, but the task was too difficult. She may have been reprimanded for doing that, but she deserved a medal for trying.

This behaviour shows the passion and dedication that paramedics have for the job.

Like Gail Blidook says, these heroes barely receive recognition for their efforts. In her words: “Not only did Ron Caldwell act with the appropriate urgency, he treated me with such compassion and respect during the whole time, reporting to me the events and including me in every aspect of the care. He literally saved Ken’s life by his fast actions and performing CPR.”

Michael Oldfield from Nanaimo also owes a debt of gratitude to paramedics and one emergency dispatcher for helping him save the life of his girlfriend who suffered cardiac arrest in their home last year.

The dispatcher coached Oldfield on how to perform CPR until paramedics arrived.

Minister of Health Terry Lake said the incident proved that quick application of CPR can make a significant impact on the chances of cardiac survival. He also commended Oldfield for his courageous actions, which won him a “Vital Link” award.

Anyone can help save a life, and it starts simply by calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

A group of hockey players in Oliver proved this  last year when they saved fellow player Harold Cox who suffered a massive heart attack during a game. Quick CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator are what brought Cox back from the dead.

More than 3,800 paramedics in BC respond to more than 500,000 calls every year, providing life-saving treatment and transportation to more than 4.4 million residents. BC Emergency Health Services responds to approximately 3,000 sudden cardiac arrests every year – the leading cause of non-accidental related deaths among British Columbians.

The province’s first patients were transported in ambulances (station wagons) in 1974, a time when bell bottoms were in vogue and disco ruled the dance floor.

Back then, the main focus was on patient transportation. Today, care and treatment provided by paramedics and dispatchers begin from the initial 9-1-1 call.

These men and women save lives every day, like people change their shirts every day.

A special hello to paramedics Tony and Denver from Penticton, two of the nicest emergency services workers on the planet.