‘They’re human too:’ Paramedics suffer PTSD after crash that killed kids, grandfather

A top paramedic says the fatal crash that claimed the lives of three children and their grandfather north of Toronto has had an unprecedented impact on the well being of first responders.

Iain Park, deputy chief for York Region EMS, told Global News that eight of the 15 paramedics who attended the scene of last Sunday’s crash in Vaughan, Ont., have taken time off to seek help for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This was a particularly tragic incident. It wiped out a family. And that has affected our responders because  while they’re trained to provide all the treatment and all the clinical skills needed, they’re human too.”

He says that in his 25-year career, he has never seen a single incident affect so many staff members.

“We have had staff paramedics not able to work because of stress, or because of a call here or a call there, but we’ve never seen something of this magnitude,” he said.

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Park added that York EMS is introducing new peer-support programs to “build resiliency” and help staff deal with difficult calls.

READ MORE: Mother of 3 children killed in Vaughan crash thanks supporters for ‘outpouring of love’

However, he stressed that paramedics are not the real casualties of the tragedy.

“We give the sympathy to the families involved,” he said. “We don’t want to look like victims.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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