Quebecers short-changed in pre-hospital emergency medical care

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FR

April 3, 2009

Montreal Gazette
Letters to the editor (published Apr. 4, 2009)

Re: MDs call for air ambulance, Gazette, April 2, 2009

Why is it that Quebecers continue to be short changed when it comes to pre-hospital emergency medical care? Calls for air ambulance helicopters for major trauma and medical emergencies in rural areas has been going on for 20 years or more but we still have none in Quebec. The life-saving skills of advanced care paramedics is undeniable, unless you live in Quebec.

And why aren’t helmets mandatory for cyclists, or for skiers, when they are proven to reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by 80%. The prevention of injury and reduction in visits to already crowded emergency departments and hospitalization would result in huge savings to taxpayers and would ease the burden on our over-stretched health care system.

Quebec prides itself in leadership and innovation yet trails far behind in pre-hospital emergency medical care and preparedness. Time to play catch up right now. Air ambulances, advanced care paramedics, helmets and wide-spread education in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation all save lives. Time to invest where it really counts.  Our lives depend on it.

Glenn J. Nashen
City Councillor (Public Safety)
Cote Saint-Luc

Postscript:  I have been advocating for legalization of paramedics in Quebec for 30 years.  Despite the widespread use of the word “paramedic” in Quebec over the last few years the province still does not permit ambulance technicians to perform advanced life support as in nearly all other jurisdictions across North America.

In the mid-90s I worked with then MNA Robert Libman to introduce helicopter air ambulances.  We asked the government to implement such a critical service but 15 years later the same questions are being asked.

Cotes Saint-Luc became the first municipality in Canada to legislate the wearing of bike helmets when I introduced this life-saving proposition.  This law has since spread widely across Canada but is still not mandatory here in Quebec.

Search this blog for more on paramedics, bike helmets and emergency medical services.

If you want to make a difference please call or write to your Member of the Quebec National Assembly and ask for support in legalizing advanced care paramedics, launching an air ambulance helicopter service and requiring all cyclists and skiers to wear a helmet.

Use of paramedics urged, Gazette

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Use-of-paramedics-urged-Gazette-1999-03-13

URGENCES SANTÉ NEEDS ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT: COALITION / URGENCES SANTÉ A BESOIN DES SOINS PRÉHOSPITALIERS AVANCÉS: COALITION

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COALITION FOR PRE-HOSPITAL ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT (ALS)

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13 May 1993

URGENCES SANTÉ NEEDS ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT:  COALITION

Montreal – The Coalition for Prehospital Advanced Life Support is calling upon the Minister of Health and Social Services to review proposed changes to the Urgences Santé emergency medical service (EMS) as lives are at stake.

Yesterday in the National Assembly, Health Minister Marc-Yvan Côté responded to a question from D’Arcy McGee MNA Robert Libman on the need to maintain prehospital advanced life support (ALS) in the MUC and Laval once physicians are removed from the ambulance services.  Côté replied that the key to the system is rapid transport to the hospital rather than on-site treatment for victims of life-threatening emergencies.

“We are urging the Minister to review North American standards of EMS care for major urban areas,” said Sandra Clarke, Coalition co-chair.  “The norm, as specified by the American Heart Association, is based upon the CHAIN OF SURVIVAL theory.  The four links of the chain are Early Access, Early CPR, Early Defibrillation, and Early Advanced Care,” Clarke said.

“The Chain is broken at the fourth link, in that ALS is effectively being eliminated from the Urgence Santé system,” said Côte Saint-Luc Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, also co-chair.  The AHA states (AHA Statement, Vol. 83, No. 5, May 1991),  … all of the links must be connected.  Weakness in any link lessens the chance of survival and condemns the efforts of an emergency medical service (EMS) system to poor results. “It is time for the Minister to recognize the urgent need for legalization of Paramedical emergency technicians,” Nashen said.

The Coalition, a rapidly expanding group of concerned physicians, ambulance technicians, other health care professionals, politicians and citizens is urging the government to change the legislation to allow for the transfer of ALS skills and knowledge from doctors to ambulance technicians, in a physician-controlled system.

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For more information:

Sandra E. Clarke, Executive Director, Advanced Coronary Treatment Foundation

Glenn J. Nashen, Municipal Councillor, City of Côte Saint-Luc

Doug Watzenberg, M.D.

Tel.:  1-800-465-5553

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8100 Côte Saint-Luc Road, Côte Saint-Luc, QC H4W 1S1, Tel: (800) 465-5553

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COALITION EN FAVEUR DES SOINS SPÉCIALISÉS PRÉHOSPITALIERS

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Le 13 mai 1993 POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

URGENCES SANTÉ A BESOIN DES SOINS

PRÉHOSPITALIERS AVANCÉS: COALITION

La Coalition en faveur des soins spécialisés préhospitaliers demande au ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux de revoir les changements proposés aux services médicaux d’urgence d’Urgences-Santé, puisque des vies sont en danger.

Hier, à l’Assemblée nationale, à une question de Robert Libman, député de D’Arcy-McGee, sur la nécessité de maintenir les soins préhospitaliers avancés sur la Communauté urbaine de Montréal et à Laval, lorsque les médecins auront été retirés des services ambulanciers, le ministre Marc-Yvan Côté répondait que la clé du système était un transport ambulancier plus rapide vers les hôpitaux plutôt que le traitement sur place des victimes de situations médicales d’urgence menaçantes pour la vie.

“Nous prions le ministre de revoir les critères nord-américains des soins médicaux d’urgence pour les régions urbaines d’importance”, a dit Sandra Clarke, co-présidente de la Coalition.  “La norme, telle que spécifiée par l’Association américaine du coeur, est basée sur la théorie de la CHAÎNE DE SURVIVANCE.  Les quatre maillons de la chaîne sont:  l’accès rapide, le RCR, la défibrilation, et les soins préhospitaliers avancés”, a dit Mme Clarke.

“La chaîne est cassée au quatrième maillon, les soins préhospitaliers avancés sont éliminés du système d’Urgences-Santé”, ajoute le conseiller pour Côte Saint-Luc, Glenn J. Nashen, également co-président de la Coalition.  Le règlement AHA dit (AHA Statement, Vol. 83, No. 5, Mai 1991):  …tous les maillons doivent être connectés.  Une faiblesse dans un seul maillon amoindrit les chances de survie et condamne les efforts d’un système de services médicaux d’urgence à de pauvres résultats.  “Il est temps que le ministre reconnaisse le besoin urgent de légaliser les techniciens para-médicaux d’urgence”, a dit M. Nashen.

La Coalition, regroupant un nombre croissant de médecins, de techniciens ambulanciers, et d’autres professionnels de la santé, ainsi que des politiciens et des citoyens, prie le ministre d’amender la loi pour permettre le transfert des connaissances en soins préhospitaliers avancés des médecins aux techniciens ambulanciers, à l’intérieur d’un système contrôlé par les médecins.

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Pour plus d’information:

Sandra E. Clarke, Directrice, La Fondation des Soins Avancés en Urgence Coronarienne

Glenn J. Nashen, Conseiller municipal, Cité de Côte Saint-Luc

Doug Watzenberg, M.D.

Tél.:  1-800-465-5553

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8100, chemin de la Côte Saint-Luc, Côte Saint-Luc, QC H4W 1S1, Tel: (800) 465-5553