The G20 and Emergency Health Services

For what it’s worth, a Toronto EMS manager told me yesterday that he thinks any protests at the G20 will be “either a complete disaster or nothing” from an emergency health services perspective. He said, in any case, both Toronto Police and Toronto EMS are supposedly (unofficially) minimizing to senior hospital administrators the potential for a so-called Mass Casualty Event, or even the need for hospital decontamination of protesters assaulted with tear gas or pepper spray.

This is the Don’t Worry, Be Happy approach to emergency management, which has always worked out so well in the past.

And, frankly, I don’t know whether to be relieved, or really, really worried.

The biggest concern, he went on, is that patients who would usually go to the Big Downtown Hospitals won’t attempt to battle traffic (and restrictions) and will filter out of downtown and overwhelm the peripheral hospitals.

Providing they don’t get nosebleeds from going north of Eglinton.

Still nothing from Acme Regional, my employer, about their contingency plan. I hear through the emergency department grapevine at least one suburban/peripheral hospital is officially Doing Nothing, on the advice of emergency planning officials, but this may well be rumour and idle chatter. I would be interested to hear from other Toronto-area nurses — I know you’re out there — about their hospitals’ contingency plans.

My concern that emergent patients won’t be able to access specialized services downtown has an answer: EMS supposedly has priority access thought the restricted zones, but there are no guarantees. Not exactly reassuring.

Just can’t wait.


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  1. #1 by mog on Saturday 05 June 2010 - 1306

    Interesting. I never thought about the knock on effects of this but you’re right. We often have problems finding beds for emergent patients, the last one went to Ottawa and noteably one went to the USA.

    I’m going to ask if we have a cunning plan

  2. #2 by Art Doctor on Sunday 06 June 2010 - 1717

    I am honestly really scared for public safety in Toronto during the G8/G20 convention and will be staying home to work that week. I don’t think Toronto is prepared and has not communicated its emergency plans to citizens. It is sincerely disappointing and I hope some idiot doesn’t do anything to our beautiful city.

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