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Paramedic magician honoured for heroic efforts

Vancouver paramedic Jamie D. Grant was recently awarded the Society of American Magicians’ Heroism and Patriot Award alongside United States Air Force Colonel Jeff Morgan and United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Steve Sabo M.D.
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The Society of American Magicians was established in 1902, and this prestigious award has only been given to 11 people in the organization’s hundred and fourteen year history. The Heroism and Patriot award recognizes magicians who make a difference in the world.

“It’s mind-blowing to be included in such esteemed company,” Grant said of the award.  “It was surprising to say the least.”  

Interestingly enough, Grant was recognized not for his work as a paramedic on the Downtown Eastside, but for the very incident that sparked his interest in becoming a paramedic when he performed bystander CPR on a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest during his first week working as a bike messenger back in 2003 in Vancouver. 

“It was quite the rush,” Grant said.  “To help save someone’s life – the feeling is unexplainable. That incident really propelled me to pursue a career in paramedicine.” 

Grant has been interested in magic since he was a kid and has worked full-time as a primary care paramedic on the Downtown Eastside for the past six years of his thirteen years with BCEHS.

He sees many similarities between magic and paramedicine including the mystery that shrouds both professions. 

 “We’re working fast to save patients and then we’re off to the hospital.  Most people don’t have any idea of all the things we are doing to save a patient’s life,” Grant said. “Magic can be like that as well.  It’s that ‘How’d he do that?’ mentality, whether it’s a card trick or knowing what to do in an MVA.”  

Grant says his performance background also helps him convince patients to let him help them on the front-lines and he has developed a keen sense of situational awareness from his years performing magic on stage. 

“I’m doing what I love, whether I’m helping save a patient or making someone smile or laugh with sleight of hand and magic,” he said.  “What more could I ask for?” 

BCEHS; staff stories; recognition; BC Ambulance Service; local heroes
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