Paramedics, police officer injured in altercation with patient at Deerfoot collision

By Meghan Potkins,

Calgary Herald

A paramedic was seriously injured in a confrontation with an aggressive patient at the scene of a four-car collision on Deerfoot Trail Monday during the evening commute.
 
A second paramedic and a police officer also received minor injuries in the incident that shut down traffic between 17th Avenue S.E. and Memorial Drive for more than an hour around 4 p.m.
 
“When first responders arrived, they were confronted by a combative man who had been involved in the crash,” Calgary police said Monday evening.
 
Several firefighters, police officers and paramedics who quickly arrived at the scene tried in vain to subdue the patient.
 
A police officer deployed a stun gun during the altercation but it had little effect.
 
“It is not known why the patient was combative,” police said. “He was transported to hospital after being sedated.”
 
One paramedic was seriously injured during the struggle and he was rushed to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
 
A spokesman for EMS said the service is providing support to the members involved in the incident and declined to comment further while the matter is being investigated by police.
 
The head of the union for paramedics employed by Alberta Health Services said Monday was a tough day for members.
 
“When a phone call comes in to say two members are down, it is absolutely heart-wrenching,” said Mike Parker, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.
 
“This is a tragic result of things that go wrong on the street. These are risks they face every day.”
 
Parker said these types of incidents are, unfortunately, all too frequent.
 
Three Calgary paramedics were injured last January when an unconscious patient suddenly became violent while being assessed by first responders at a home in Parkhill.
 
Last month, two Edmonton paramedics received minor injuries when they were trapped in the back of an ambulance and assaulted, according to the union.
 
In a recent survey of paramedic union members in the Calgary area, 90 per cent reported being assaulted in some way during their careers.
 
Parker said such incidents are why the union has been pushing the province to bring back critical incident training for members that was largely scrapped when the province took over ambulance services from municipalities in 2009.
 
“It’s beyond a concern. It is an absolute frustration that these members are not trained,” Parker said.
 
He added the province will soon be reintroducing the vital training program for members.
 
Two civilians also involved in the collision Monday were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
 
The incident comes as local first responders are marking National Paramedic Services Week, with a number of community events intended to give Calgarians a better sense of the role paramedics play in emergency situations.
 
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