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.