Canadian anti-vaxxers delay ambulance carrying patient in critical condition

‘I watched someone start to bleed to death when they didn’t have to, when time would have made all the difference in the world,’ paramedic says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 21 September 2021 18:18
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Related video: Vaccination opponents march at intersection of West Broadway Avenue with Spruce Street in Vancouver, BC

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An ambulance carrying a patient in critical condition in Vancouver was delayed as demonstrators protesting Covid-19 regulations and vaccines blocked its path to the hospital.

Protesters deployed the same “lock her up” chant used by Trump supporters against 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton but instead directed their ire at British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry.

A paramedic told CBC News that her team had picked up a patient with an arterial bleed after an industrial accident at a construction site at Vancouver’s waterfront on 1 September. The drive from the site to the hospital usually takes eight minutes, but this time it lasted more than double that time.

British Columbia Ambulance Service told the outlet that they received several reports of delays caused by the congestion surrounding the protesters.

“I watched someone start to bleed to death when they didn’t have to, when time would have made all the difference in the world,” the anonymous paramedic told CBC. “That was my last straw,” the paramedic, who’s thinking about leaving the job after 33 years, said.

The protests against the public health measures have continued since the start of the month, especially after Dr Henry issued an order on 13 September to require proof of vaccination to gain access to many businesses and events.

The paramedic, who stayed anonymous out of fear that her frank comments might cost her her job, told CBC: “When we did finally get to St Paul’s [Hospital], there were protesters blocking the driveway — they’ve got signs and they’re yelling. So it’s the first we knew about anything going on.”

She noted how the treatment of first responders has changed since the beginning of the pandemic.

“At first, people were just happy we were going to work. And now we’re being stopped from taking people into an emergency. It’s so hard. It’s so disheartening,” she said.

The protests on 1 September took place just over a week after it was announced that vaccination proof requirements were going to be put in place.

Police estimate that as many as 5,000 people took part in the protest.

“This is Vancouver. We have protests … every second day downtown. Somebody will protest something and we just work around as emergency response vehicles. But don’t block the entrances to our hospitals,” the paramedic said.

“There’s so much the public does not see. It’s not just Covid. We’re still dealing with traffic accidents. We’re still dealing with pedestrians struck and the overdose crisis,” she added.

“We’ve got hospitals that are bursting at the seams on a normal day, without a Covid pandemic. And now we’ve got an angry general public that thinks that all health-care workers are up to something,” she said.

The paramedic said the protests on 1 September was something new.

“I’ve been here all these years in the city and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said. “I’m at the point of saying I’m done … I’m so close to it that it’s not going to take any time at all. It could be today or tomorrow. I’m exhausted by this.”

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