The Pulse of a Para­medic

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

Some peo­ple seem to fol­low a ‘call­ing’ which leads them to their cho­sen pro­fes­sion, like Stanstead’s Bruno Roy who wanted to be an am­bu­lance para­medic since he was a young­ster.

“When I was about five or six, my grandpa be­came very sick – he fell on the floor and he wasn’t mov­ing. I re­mem­ber the paramedics came and picked him up and did some­thing to him, then took him away. He was all right af­ter. I knew then that I wanted to do that job, to save other peo­ple’s grand­pas,” ex­plained Mr. Roy. “One of those guys that picked up my grandpa was a big guy with big glasses; that was Larry Reynolds. When I started work­ing with Am­bu­lance Stanstead, Larry was my first part­ner. I said to him, ‘You prob­a­bly don’t re­mem­ber me but I re­mem­ber you.’”

Al­though that was four­teen years ago, Bruno’s en­thu­si­asm for his pro­fes­sion has not abated. He has taken nu­mer­ous ad­vanced med­i­cal cour­ses and is presently tak­ing cour­ses to­wards a DEC in his pro­fes­sion, a diploma which wasn’t avail­able when he first trained for the job. What’s more, he does it all vol­un­tar­ily and on his own time. “I’ve taken a lot of ex­tra cour­ses just for the knowl­edge. In my job, the more you know the less stress you have while work­ing. And a lot of things change, like the way we give CPR, the dosage of med­i­ca­tions. What’s great is that I can ex­plain pro­ce­dures to pa­tients and help pre­pare them bet­ter for what’s ahead for them, but what’s hard is when you have a sit­u­a­tion and some­one needs a cer­tain drug but I’m not al­lowed to give it to them. We’re work­ing to get rec­og­nized as a pro­fes­sion in Que­bec; right now we’re only in­sured to do cer­tain pro­ce­dures when we’re on the job,” he com­mented.

“Now, the big dif­fer­ence be­tween am­bu­lance tech­ni­cians and the gen­eral pub­lic is: peo­ple see emer­gen­cies that we don’t see as emer­gen­cies. We don’t al­ways rush when we get to the scene; we take our time, look around the scene, get the equip­ment out that we need, then go in and see what’s go­ing on. This ac­tu­ally saves time but peo­ple some­times get an­gry with us be­cause we’re not rush­ing. We don’t take it per­son­ally; we know they’re un­der stress,” said Mr. Roy.

Speak­ing can­didly, Bruno ad­mit­ted that he’d like to see Am­bu­lance Stanstead adopt a dif­fer­ent model of work shift. “We are seven days on, seven days off. That means that, 24 hours a day for seven days, you have to be ready to get dressed and go to am­bu­lance head­quar­ters, get the am­bu­lance and go when you get a call. Even though we’re only five min­utes away it takes time, and it takes even longer in the win­ter time. What makes me mad is that, in Sher­brooke, they can have an am­bu­lance at the side of the road, all ready and just wait­ing to go.”

“Some­times you’ve just cooked a good meal and you get a call. That gets hard af­ter a while. I’m still here be­cause I love what I do, but of­ten I want a nor­mal life.” He’d rather work ‘by the hour’, which means two guys dressed and ready to go, at head­quar­ters, 24 hours a day.

A com­mu­nity-minded para­medic, Mr. Roy is one of the driv­ing forces be­hind this Satur­day’s “Hero in 30” event, tak­ing place at the Pat Burns Arena, in Stanstead. Dur­ing the event, which in­cludes health and safety ex­hibits, qual­i­fied in­struc­tors are hop­ing to train 300 peo­ple in Car­diopul­monary re­sus­ci­ta­tion, CPR.

“Since I first be­gan work­ing on the am­bu­lance, I was of­ten amazed that so many peo­ple didn’t know what to do in an emer­gency; they just stand around in shock. I was very up­set with this sit­u­a­tion so I went to my di­rec­tor and asked him why no­body knows what to do? He lis­tened to me rant for an hour and a half, then he asked me what I could do. I went home and thought about it, then went back to my di­rec­tor and told him if he paid for me to take a course in CPR train­ing, I would train peo­ple for free. That was in 2001, and we’ve been in­volved with the CAB ever since, train­ing peo­ple.”

“The other guys on the team are all quite com­mu­nity-minded, too,” he con­tin­ued. “They all do more than what’s asked of them. Af­ter we got two feet of snow in a snow storm a cou­ple of years ago, there were no roads open so we worked out a ser­vice with the fire depart­ment us­ing a stretcher and a sk­idoo and a 4x4; we did one call that day with the 4 x 4.”

Asked what he liked most about his job, Bruno said: “I en­joy a job that’s dif­fer­ent ev­ery day and I like the chal­lenge. It’s all about help­ing peo­ple.”

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Stanstead Am­bu­lance para­medic, Bruno Roy, very much ‘at home’ in the back of an am­bu­lance, is one of the driv­ing forces be­hind this Satur­day’s “Hero in 30” train­ing event.

Photo courtesy

Michael Everett (left), of the Til­lot­son Re­gional Coat­i­cook Fund, presents a cheque to Yvon Labonté of the Club Ami­tie Age d’Or, of Ayer’s Cliff.

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