Yukon paramedics deserve recognition

Yukon paramedics deserve recognition Yukon EMS has been in the news a lot lately. And it's a good thing. Paramedics are the unsung heroes of emergency services and the medical field. They deserve some limelight and recognition for their dedicated servic

Yukon EMS has been in the news a lot lately. And it’s a good thing. Paramedics are the unsung heroes of emergency services and the medical field. They deserve some limelight and recognition for their dedicated service and unparalleled life-saving skills. When people call 911, they are more often than not seeking emergency medical services. While firefighters are often lauded in the glorious role of hero for extricating victims from a mangled car wreck, the paramedics are the ones who provide the essential medical services to save that life, and keep that victim alive on the way to the hospital. And that’s on a good day.

Paramedics are the first line of defence for social services and social medicine. They see the worst of society multiple times through their 10- to 14-hour shifts. They are on call 24/7. They provide professional and compassionate care to the downtrodden and delinquents of society. And they provide the same level of care to those who would rather ignore and exclude them from their society.

Paramedics are spit on, bled on, vomited on, and physically and verbally assaulted while delivering an uncompromised standard of medical care. Paramedics witness everyone’s worst nightmares. They work desperately to save victims of childhood trauma as if it’s their own child on the stretcher. They work on heart attack victims as if it’s their own father’s or husband’s heart they are bringing back to life. They work on frail elders and grandparents, hoping their own family gets the same level of care when it is needed.

But this service has a cost. Many Canadian provinces have done away with government-run emergency medical services to cut health-care costs. Some jurisdictions have auctioned off this service to the lowest private-sector bidder, which are often based Outside.

Other jurisdictions in Canada have a ratio of one ambulance to a population of 30,000 people. Given the population of the Yukon, that would mean one to two ambulances for the entire population of the territory.

Whitehorse and outlying communities like Marsh Lake would be allocated a single ambulance.

But the Yukon isn’t like other jurisdictions in Canada. We are a unique territory and population spread out through remote and mountainous terrain. But our population expects a service comparable to other jurisdictions Ð prompt, efficient emergency medical care. But at what cost is our government willing to invest in this life-saving service? Are we being shortchanged with lives on the line?

Emily Smith

Whitehorse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read