(Black Press Media files)

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

A labour arbitrator in British Columbia says two long-time paramedics should be fired after they were accused of mistreating a patient who was in pain and allowed to crawl to an elevator.

In a written statement issued last month, Paul Love says video from a building in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where Alyson Banner and Michael Crawford were called on Oct. 14, 2019, ”shockingly reveals” the paramedics leading a 56-year-old man who is crawling to the elevator.

Love’s decision says Banner claimed a cot wouldn’t fit in the elevator and then told a mental health worker that the writhing man was not in pain and could walk.

Had the mental health worker not spoken up or there was no video evidence, Love says the complaint may not have succeeded.

CUPE Local 873, which represented Banner and Crawford and opposed their discharge, did not respond to a request for comment.

The ruling says the paramedics showed a lack of remorse by being dishonest throughout the investigation and the hearing, prompting what Love says is “most probably” a career ending decision by upholding their firings.

“The lack of candour both during the interview and at the hearing, demonstrates that although (Banner and Crawford) are experienced and well trained, the bonds of trust have been broken,” Love says in the decision.

“This is a tragic case in terms of the careers of the (paramedics), their treatment of the patient and their demonstrated lapse of service which reflects poorly on the employer.”

Both Banner and Crawford said the man, who is not named, was aggressive, foul-mouthed and refused treatment, but the mental health worker provided notes disputing that assessment.

The patient was diagnosed with life-threatening sepsis, which Love says “can result in delusional thinking, agitation and confusion.”

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital, Love says in the decision.

He says he struggled with the decision by British Columbia Emergency Health Services to fire Banner and Crawford, calling the case only a “small slice” of the paramedics’ combined 17 years of service.

“A theme suggested by the employer throughout the hearing, which I agree with, is it is difficult to imagine that this type of sub-standard patient care by a paramedic would be afforded to anyone out of the (Downtown Eastside), and the patient, a resident of the (Downtown Eastside), should not have experienced this treatment,” the decision says.

Love upheld the firings and dismissed union grievances about the timing, style and fairness of the investigation by British Columbia Emergency Health Services.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

It happened this week in 1913

Sept. 13 - 19. Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

BC Wildfire Service lifts area restriction around Doctor Creek fire

The BC Wildfire Service has lifted an area restriction around the Doctor… Continue reading

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read