Our area’s hos­pi­tal staff are Toronto Strong

Emer­gency re­spon­ders in North York ral­lied to help vic­tims of the Yonge-Finch at­tack by Bethany Browne

Bayview Post - - NEWS | NEIGHBOURHOOD -

At Sun­ny­brook Hos­pi­tal, home to the largest trauma cen­tre in the coun­try, the Code Orange on April 23 was dif­fer­ent.

On this day, we now know that a man, al­leged to be Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, drove a van up onto a Yonge Street side­walk near Finch Av­enue pur­pose­fully strik­ing dozens of peo­ple, killing 10 and in­jur­ing 15.

When the first re­spon­ders ar­rived on the scene, the in­jured were dis­patched as quickly as pos­si­ble to Sun­ny­brook Hos­pi­tal and North York Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal (NYGH), both nearby.

Staff at both hos­pi­tals were about to wade into what would soon be known as the worst mass mur­der in Canada since Mon­treal’s École Polytech­nique in 1989 when Marc Lépine killed 14 women at the school.

NYGH re­ceived four pa­tients from the day’s at­tack. At Sun­ny­brook, a Code Orange was in ef­fect, alert­ing staff to mass ca­su­al­ties. Ten vic­tims ar­rived at the hos­pi­tal shortly af­ter. Five were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, two in se­ri­ous con­di­tion, and one in fair con­di­tion. Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued by Sun­ny­brook, “Un­for­tu­nately, two pa­tients ar­rived vi­tal signs ab­sent and were pro­nounced dead upon ar­rival.”

One of the pa­tient care man­agers work­ing on Mon­day af­ter­noon was Karen Mc­Cormick from the crit­i­cal care unit at Sun­ny­brook.

Re­flect­ing on the largest trauma case that the hos­pi­tal has ever faced, Mc­Cormick said hos­pi­tal staff had to be quick on their feet. Af­ter learn­ing her own fam­ily was safe, Mc­Cormick quickly switched gears to help in what­ever way she could, as fast as she could. She said help­ing to care for vic­tims of the at­tack and their fam­i­lies was more than just her job. It felt per­sonal.

“I live close to that area. That is my neigh­bour­hood, and I had a re­la­tion­ship with what had hap­pened,” she said.

At the crit­i­cal care unit, the staff meets the fam­ily of any vic­tim on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and bears wit­ness to griev­ing rel­a­tives and friends.

“It was par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult be­cause there were so many of them as a re­sult of this sense­less act,” said Mc­Cormick, whose role was to help cre­ate ca­pac­ity in the hos­pi­tal for the in­com­ing wave of crit­i­cal pa­tients. She said Sun­ny­brook staff has been noth­ing less than ex­cep­tional.

“There’s a tremen­dous amount of will to get the in­jured to the right level of care,” Mc­Cormick said. “That takes many peo­ple in the hos­pi­tal in or­der to achieve that and many are needed to make this event go smoothly.”

“That is my neigh­bour­hood. I had a re­la­tion­ship with what had hap­pened.”

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