Saving a life? Two years of pandemic stress? Keeping calm is 'half the job,' paramedics say
The pandemic has been, many paramedics would say, the hardest point in their careers so far.
For Louis-Philippe Parent, for example, the early days were terrifying, he recalls -- very little was known about the virus, but paramedics needed to throw themselves into the fire, exposing themselves every day.
He had also just found out his wife was pregnant. But like other paramedics, he just soldiered on.
"It was scary at first, but we just adapted to it," he said this week. "We didn't have any choice."
Two years later, for him and other paramedics to still be on the job -- and still enjoying it -- is a sign, they say. A sign that it really is the best job in the world.
On one recent day he sped towards a recent emergency with his partner, Charles Duff.
"We're the only ones that are left to take care of him," said Duff, about the patient expecting them.
The man's emergency, their first call of the day, was a Code Zero -- the most serious, highest-priority kind of call.
"I'm just trying to see, or think about, what we're going to do when we get there," Duff said as the two were on their way.
"Hope the person is not as bad as what they say."
Perhaps it's not surprising that paramedics just grit their teeth and worked through the stress of the pandemic, because they're trained, above all, to stay calm and focused.
As they sped towards their call, Duff said that in a way, just keeping that composure is a big part of what paramedics do.
"Keeping calm and keeping the stress inside, it's half the job, honestly," he said.
"Taking control of the situation -- it's what you've got to do."
Later, after assessing the man's injuries and leaving with him for the hospital, they tried to describe what it was like being the first line of defence in exhausting, life-or-death situations.
For one thing, there's the bond they have with each other.
"I trust him with my life," said Parent.
"He knows what I'm thinking. What we do during a call is very fluid."
Having left the patient in doctors' care in hospital, it's on to another call. Duff and Parent sanitize their gear before being sent elsewhere.
Despite the rewards of what they do, Duff says he wishes he had more options to ease the strain on emergency rooms.
"We could have other options like bringing him to the clinic, setting up an appointment for them, seeing a doctor on Zoom," he said.
"If there's any way that we'd be able to fix that for [patients], we'd be able to keep people out of the hospital."
Paramedics could go much further with just a bit more training, too, he said.
"We're not health-care professionals yet, but it's something I think a lot of us would be ready to do," he said.
For them, the past couple of years were a reminder that their jobs are the best in the world.
But for many others, seeing that already-overworked paramedics, coming out of their hardest-ever professional period, are looking for ways to do even more, is one more reminder of why front-line workers keep getting called heroes.
Montreal Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The federal government announced Wednesday all existing border restrictions to enter Canada will remain in place until at least Sept. 30.
Fallen R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday for using his fame to subject young fans - some just children - to systematic sexual abuse.
Police in Saanich, B.C., say they continue to investigate the possibility that a "third suspect" was involved in a fatal shooting at a bank that left two suspects dead and six officers injured Tuesday.
A woman who was trapped inside a bank during a robbery and fatal shootout with police near Victoria on Tuesday says there is one question still plaguing her a day later: Why didn't the gunmen just leave with the money?
Five months ago, the first 'Freedom Convoy' trucks rolled into Ottawa. After the federal government took the unprecedented step of invoking the Emergencies Act to end the protests, a series of inquiries and probes have been initiated. With the nation's capital bracing for more protests over the Canada Day weekend, CTVNews.ca takes a look at where the main commissions and studies stand.
A mother of three children is speaking out after spending a night on the floor of Toronto Pearson Airport with her young kids in a nightmare weekend of travel.
A toddler accidentally left in a vehicle for hours died Tuesday and police said his father was found dead in an apparent suicide at their Virginia home, police said.
Canada has signed an agreement to upgrade the NATO battlegroup it leads in Latvia to a brigade, a move that signals a commitment to the military alliance even as the federal Liberals resist calls to boost defence spending to two per cent of GDP.
A decorated OPP officer became part of the problem of the GTA’s troubled tow truck industry when he played favourites and sent more than half a million dollars in tows to a tow truck company also featured in a reality TV show, according to a Superior Court justice.
A new video has been released showing what appears to be an interaction between Toronto police officers and Regis Korchinski-Paquet moments before she fell from a balcony two years ago.
An Ontario man says he's frustrated with his bank after almost 500,000 of his travel points disappeared.
This Ontario city is the largest to be designated an official Living Wage Employer to date.
An RCMP officer who was among 22 people killed in the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting was remembered Wednesday during a regimental service in Halifax for her "fierce" character and brave actions.
A woman has been charged with impaired driving after she allegedly crashed a vehicle into a building in Sydney, N.S., and left the scene.
Eskasoni First Nation on Cape Breton Island is about to get its first licensed liquor store, however, opinions in the community are split about whether it's a wise move.
A panel van went up in flames following a two-vehicle crash in Elgin County on Wednesday, police say the occupants were able to safely escape.
It was the last day of school for most elementary school students in the region and a time for students and teachers to look forward to summer.
For the second time in two days, a Southwestern Ontario hospital has announced a temporary Emergency Room closure.
The Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Sudbury’s Summer Concert Series and Up Here Festival are promising an action-packed summer in the city.
The trial of a man charged with first-degree murder in the death of an Elliot Lake man got underway this week in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom.
A detour is now available following a motor vehicle collision that closed Hwy. 17 in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario Provincial Police said Wednesday.
An expert at the University of Calgary says a float in a small Alberta town's annual parade made a mockery of some of the symbols the Sikh religion hold sacred.
The woman who died during a practice at the Ponoka Stampede on Sunday has been identified by friends as Alicia McKendrick.
A severe thunderstorm only lasted about 10 minutes, but Nathan Canning says that was enough time to blow the entire roof off his Quonset barn and cause thousands of dollars' worth of damage to his Langdon property.
A serious collision in Kitchener Tuesday has prompted calls for traffic controls to be installed at the off-ramps of Highway 7/8 onto Ira Needles Boulevard.
In the wake of the landmark Supreme Court decision south of the border, demonstrators in Kitchener showed up in support of abortion rights.
A 27-year-old man has died after a single-vehicle crash near Hensall on Tuesday evening, according to police.
Authorities have announced charges against a B.C. RCMP officer who allegedly used his position to pursue "intimate relationships with women," both on and off duty.
It's not unusual for prospective renters searching out affordable options in Vancouver to come across listings where someone in search of a roommate has crammed a single bed into a windowless, downtown den. But are these arrangements legal?
What was once a village is now a fire-scarred wasteland that is uninhabitable. It's been a year since a devastating fire tore through Lytton, B.C., and even now, most of the community is under evacuation order.
Damien Christopher Starrett was found guilty of killing his one-year-old son Ares Starrett and assaulting another child in a Fort Saskatchewan home on Nov. 23, 2019.
Lindsay Cholod ventured out onto the North Saskatchewan River last weekend for her first paddle of the season but it was almost her last.
The search for the 13-year-old girl who disappeared in Edmonton last Friday continued on Wednesday.
A pandemic-inspired trend is encouraging people to pack their bags and jet off to the places they have missed over the past few years — but the owner of WindsorEats says it has him concerned about its negative impact on Windsor-Essex tourism.
A retired Windsor firefighter is joining Windsor police in warning residents about a gift card scam after falling victim to one this past weekend.
The region is in for more hot and humid weather as a two-day heat wave is expected to take hold Thursday.
Video shared online appears to show a tornado near Watrous, Saskatchewan.
The road to decriminalizing drugs in Regina is being paved. On Tuesday, the Board of Police Commissioners met to discuss the possibility of decriminalizing personal illicit drug possession in the city of Regina.
Mandatory fire sprinkler systems in new residential builds and the Arcola Avenue corridor study are some of the items on Regina City Council’s agenda for its Wednesday afternoon meeting.
Anne-Marie Ready, 50, and Jasmine Ready, 15, died from stab wounds following an incident at a home on Anoka Street Monday night, police said Wednesday afternoon.
Longtime Ottawa entrepreneur, broadcaster and author Mark Sutcliffe is running to become the next mayor of Ottawa.
"We choose not to celebrate the ongoing colonization, oppression and genocide of Indigenous peoples of this land," Moo Shu Ice Cream said in a social media post.
A 55-year-old man was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver at a Saskatoon hospital, according to his daughter.
Video shared online appears to show a tornado near Watrous, Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan RCMP found a 23-year-old woman seriously injured when they responded to a weapons complaint in Prince Albert.