Changes to ambulance protocol in Winnipeg come in to effect Tuesday

Changes come to ambulance protocols Tuesday.
Changes come to ambulance protocols Tuesday. Global News

As Victoria Hospital closes its Emergency Department and the Misericordia Health Centre switches from an urgent care to an intravenous therapy clinic, paramedics have new protocols to follow.

In a six page Destination Decision Protocol document obtained by Global News, changes are laid out for paramedics on where they should and shouldn’t go based on what their patient is suffering from.

That might not be the closest hospital.

“You could be living across the street from Victoria Hospital and if you call us and you’re having a stemi which is the most life threatening, biggest heart attack, we’re not taking you to Vic Hospital today, we were not taking for the last ten years,” Robert Grierson, the WFPS Medical Doctor said.

He said paramedics were given the documents two weeks ago and they go in to effect on Tuesday.

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The changes aren’t necessarily to the most life threatening situations like cardiac arrest and other acute illnesses. The changes come in to play for the injuries or illnesses that would not be considered life threatening.

Front line workers said the changes come and go when they’re on the job and they are used to adapting, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have concerns.

“One challenge anyways that we think we may be facing is long transport time,” Ryan Woiden, a Winnipeg paramedic, said.

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The six page document gives the paramedic the option to see what their patient is suffering from and then directs them on which action to take.

For example, if the patient is non-traumatic cardiac arrest, then they’re asked to see appendix one which directs them to a formula to follow that will guide them to where the patient will receive the best medical treatment.

According to the Assistant Chief of Paramedic Operations, Ryan Sneath, all the supervisors and their front line workers have had a face to face meeting about the changes and have been given the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns over the last two weeks.

At the end of the day, officials said that part of the protocol includes that if you start to crash in the ambulance, the paramedic then has the ability to decide whether to take you to St. Boniface, HSC, or The Grace.

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“Everyday we meet challenges and everyday we’re forced to make decisions in split seconds,” Woiden said.