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Two Durham paramedics awarded for bravery

(Photo courtesy Colin Williamson)

A pair of paramedics from the Region of Durham Paramedic Services were among the recipients of Ontario’s Award for Paramedic Bravery.

The Ontario award for Paramedic Bravery was created to honour paramedics who have performed an act of “exceptional courage” in the face of danger.

This year, 13 paramedics are being recognized for their courageous actions, including Durham Paramedic Petrus Kuypers, and Durham Paramedic Trevor Bain.

On November 24, 2018, Kuypers cared for a patient in an ambulance on the way to a hospital. The patient was experiencing mental health distress. He hurt himself lacerating his neck with a razor blade which he had hidden in his mouth.

Kuypers restrained the patient’s hand and struggled with him to gain control of the razor blade while calling for help. As the police boarded the ambulance and took over, Kuypers fought to control the patient’s bleeding and continued to care for him until they arrived at the hospital.

On April 3, 2019, Bain and his partner responded to a call regarding two individuals who had complained about food poisoning. When they arrived at the scene, they quickly recognized that the patients’ symptoms were more severe than simple food poisoning and that the house was filled with carbon monoxide.

Bain first vented the place and then took two patients who were semi-conscious outside. Had he not been there to do so, the two patients would have succumbed to the noxious gas. The rest of the eight patients from the home were safely taken to the Toronto General Hospital.

Award recipients were selected from nominations submitted in 2019 and 2020.

The other 2019 award recipients include Paramedics Bryan Pollock, Thomas Quilliam and Superintendent Janice Steele-Lanark from County Paramedic Service; Paramedic Gordon Cobus from Lanark County Paramedic Service; Paramedic Lucas Leggett from Muskoka Paramedic Services; Paramedics Patrick Dixon and Michael Michaelis from Parry Sound District Emergency Medical Services; Paramedic Steve Laubach from Haldimand County Paramedic Services; Paramedic Julie Grainger from York Region Paramedic Services.

The 2020 Ontario Award recipients include Superintendent Andrew Lock from Toronto Paramedic Services; and Deputy Chief Professional Standards Justin Lammers from Essex Windsor District Emergency Services.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says paramedics are on the frontlines when it comes to protecting communities and saving lives.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen paramedics performing incredible acts of service and generosity,” says Ford. “From assisting with the vaccine rollout to alleviating hospital capacity by helping with home care, they have been here to support us every step of the way.”

“On behalf of everyone in Ontario, I want to thank each of them for their service and congratulate this year’s winners of the Paramedic Bravery Awards. You are true heroes,” he adds.

The province says paramedics have played a critical role in Ontario’s right against COVID-19, from conducting swabbing and testing, protecting health systems and hospital capacity by supporting patient transfers, and they continue to support Ontario’s vaccine rollout, including administering vaccines to those who have limited mobility and cannot travel to a mass immunization clinic.

“I would like to thank Premier Ford and Minister Elliott for taking time to recognize the bravery of these paramedics who went beyond their call of duty,” says Peter Dundas, President of the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs.

“These paramedics put patients first and demonstrate fearless dedication to saving lives,” he adds. “They exemplify the virtues of this award and what it means to be a paramedic stepping up to serve their community every day. Congratulations to all.”

Paramedic Services Week was celebrated across Canada from May 23 to 29, 2021.

Since its inauguration, 56 paramedics have received the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery.