17.4 C
Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Letter: Niagara EMS provided top-notch care when I needed it
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

On March 13, my husband decided to call an ambulance as precaution. In 2020, I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma cancer and I’ve been on oral chemo since.

With long experience dealing with the side effects of these drugs, we’ve grown accustomed to managing them.

However, I had been dealing with a severe migraine for three long days and the severity had reached new, excruciating pain levels.

I had a new symptom, pressure under the left side of my chest from the night before. That morning, the pain was exasperated by nausea and crazy high blood pressure.

When we moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake from Toronto in 2022, one of the main concerns was leaving the comfort of being cradled between four great hospitals.

As a patient at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre, I was hesitant to choose NOTL as a new home due to the distance to a major hospital.

And, of course, the publicized shortage of EMS responders in Niagara was an added concern.

It was a risk, but I figured I prefer to live my life doing what we loved, versus living in regret and fear. We indeed have been enjoying the lifestyle of wine country over the hustle of Toronto.

Our concerns finally became real when we had to dial for an ambulance.

The good news is it took only minutes for EMS to arrive to our home. My husband says the response was terrific and the care was first rate.

I was suffering, so I could only focus on my primary provider, who was with me in the ambulance. I recall his calming voice, his genuine level of empathy, as he went through his analysis to identify if I was at risk for a heart event.

And then the focus became to alleviate my pain. He was amazing.

Hours later, after the pain was managed, I finally had the wherewithal to ask what his name was. It was Shane.

There have been media reports about too few paramedics in Niagara and extended offloading delays when patients get to hospital.

I understand this concern. Shane and his team member had to stay with me in the ambulance bay for a few hours before I was transferred into the hospital’s emergency ward.

I even felt a tinge of guilt that I was holding up a valuable team of emergency responders. With CUPE Local 911 and Niagara Region in contract negotiations, I felt it important to acknowledge EMS Niagara for providing a great response time and great care.

A heartfelt thanks to Shane in particular, who offered a reassuring voice and great medical support that day.  We never really know when is the right time to call EMS and women in particular will often second-guess themselves. I know I did.

Asking for help is not what I do best. On this day, I needed help and I’m especially grateful for the top-notch care I received.

My deepest gratitude to Shane and the first responders of EMS Niagara. We appreciate you and are lucky to have you.

We should do all we can to attract and retain top talent like Shane.

Nancy Houle

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