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BCEHS Board thanks "the unsung heroes" in overdose crisis

Paramedics and dispatchers help save lives every day in BC, yet their stories often go untold.  BCEHS Local Heroes is a forum to recognize their daily acts of skill, bravery and kindness which make a difference in the lives of patients and communities.
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On December 8, 2016 BCEHS/PHSA Board Chair Wynne Powell and board members sat quietly listening to BC Ambulance Dispatch Supervisor Dan McLeod recount the dramatic chain of events one day in September that saved the lives of nine young people. 

McLeod described how in the early morning hours of September 1, 2016, the 911 calls starting coming in. There were multiple suspected overdose patients and a suspected cardiac arrest, at three different locations in Delta.  

According to police, the young patients were all recreational drug users who believed they were taking cocaine, but it turned out the powder contained Fentanyl. 

BC Ambulance dispatchers, paramedics and supervisors worked together with Fire-Rescue first responders and Delta Police to get to the patients as soon as possible. 

The condition of the young people at the time is now well documented in news media stories – shallow breathing, turning blue, some unconscious. In minutes, eight patients were resuscitated by paramedics and fire first responders, and were taken to nearby hospitals. 

Another young patient was later found to be at yet a fourth location, and was also revived and taken to hospital by paramedics. 

In McLeod’s presentation to the board, he talked with pride about the teamwork, and the highly skilled, rapid decision-making that saved these young people’s lives.“I know I speak on behalf of all Board members when I say that we are inspired by your dedication. You have done an outstanding job and we know the patients of British Columbia are deeply appreciative of your work,” said Board Chair Wynne Powell. 

He also acknowledged the emotional toll the overdose crisis in general is having on paramedics and dispatchers as well as others in the organization. “They have experienced many heartbreaking moments, yet they come to work every day ready to take on yet another day. They are the unsung heroes in this crisis, and they deserve our respect and admiration.”

At the board meeting, McLeod represented all those involved that night including: dispatchers Rachelle Bown, Christian Gotengco, Anika Schulz, Jasneel Gill, Megan Arnott, Sean Kettley, Vittorio Contestabile and Ron Cheah as well as their support teams, and paramedics Brian Jensen, Patrick Lai, Russell Podmerow, Robert Vanderhoek, Cassie Irvine, Alex Miniato, Ryan Gerber, Justin Wares, Gary Loader, Oliver Ruse, Ron Glanville, Jonathan Costa, Adam Greene, Heather While, Ryan Larkin, Patrick Ng, Leonard Beck, Gurbir Dherari, Eric Strayer and Chris Wagnor as well as street supervisors Terry McManus, Lindsay Kay and Glen Braithwaite. 

Please contact BCEHS Communications if you would like to recognize a BCEHS staff member who went above and beyond the call of duty to help you or someone you care about. 

BC Ambulance Service; BCEHS; staff stories; local heroes
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