Claude Ferguson might never have become a paramedic if it hadn't been for an incident many years ago on Kukagami Lake Road.
He stopped at the scene of an accident and ended up performing CPR.
After the incident, Ferguson, who at the time was enrolled in the electronics program at Cambrian College, decided to transfer to the college's paramedic program, graduating in 1986.
Ferguson, now an advance care paramedic and a relief platoon chief with the City of Greater Sudbury's Emergency Medical Services, was presented with the eighth annual Léonce Seguin Memorial Award May 22.
Award recipients are nominated by their peers. They must demonstrate dedication to paramedicine, a commitment to furthering personal educational and professional skills and a high level of personal deportment.
The award is presented in memory of Seguin, a local paramedic who passed away from cancer in 2005, at the age of 34.
“It's an honour to be recognized by your coworkers,” Ferguson said, speaking to reporters after a press conference at Health Sciences North.
He said his favourite thing about his job is the fact that he gets to help other people.
“We're in a field where you do an action and you see results,” Ferguson said. “When you see positive results for the well-being of our community, there's no bigger honour than that.”
Ferguson graduated as an advance care paramedic in 1998 from the Mitchener Institute in Toronto, the first institution in the province to offer the course.
On top of his regular job, Ferguson has taught paramedic and advance care paramedic students at both Cambrian College and Collège Boréal.
He is a “true mentor” to his students, encouraging them to learn and improve on their practical skills, according to Jennifer Amyotte, commander of community health and professional standards with the city's Emergency Medical Services, said.
“He is well deserving of this prestigious award,” Amyotte, who introduced Ferguson before he was presented with the award, said.
Ferguson was honoured as part of Emergency Medical Services Week, which runs May 20-26. Mayor Marianne Matichuk was on hand at the press conference to sign an official proclamation.
“As mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury, on behalf of council, I would like to recognize the dedication of EMS workers in our community, and thank them on behalf of our city for their dedication to the health of our citizens.”
As part of Emergency Medical Services Week, a display of ambulance equipment will be set up at the main entrance to Health Sciences North until May 25.
Aaron Archibald, the deputy chief of the city's Emergency Medical Services, told those gathered at the press conference that the city's paramedics provide excellent care under challenging conditions.
It takes a “special breed” of paramedic to work in Greater Sudbury, he said. In 2011, local paramedics responded to 40,293 calls, he said.
“This amounts to a emergency service response every 13 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Archibald said. “With a coverage area of 5,500 square kilometres, our paramedics encounter many obstacles in their day-to-day duties that you may not see in other communities.”
Over the years, local paramedics have added increasingly advanced skills to their repertoire, Archibald said.
One example is the ST - Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) Bypass protocol, which was put in place in partnership with Health Sciences North two years ago.
Paramedics are trained in conducting and interpreting electrocardiograms on some heart attack patients. They are transported directly to the hospital's cardiac catheterization lab, where patients are then treated with a balloon catheter and stent to restore the flow of blood through the artery.
Thirty patients were treated under the STEMI Bypass protocol in 2011, Archibald said.
On average, it took 46 minutes from the time paramedics reached the patient to when they underwent treatment in the cardiac catheterization lab.
That's “fantastic,” given that the provincial benchmark for this type of patient receiving treatment upon reaching the hospital is 90 minutes, Archibald said.
Posted by Arron Pickard