Jason Arnold is one of a pilot project’s advanced life support paramedics working in the South Okanagan. (Contributed)

New advanced life support paramedics operating in South Okanagan for trial project

Trial tests whether ALS paramedic service will service rural regions

Paramedics with advanced life support (ALS) training are operating in the South Okanagan for three months as part of a pilot project by B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS).

The goal of the trial, which began in Kelowna then moved to Vernon for two, three-month periods, is to provide an extra level of care at a time when the number of emergency calls are increasing in the region, according to BCHES district manager, Michael Boyarski.

READ MORE: Penticton woman continues quest against preventable medical errors

READ MORE: MPs hear retired Penticton nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Under the pilot program, ALS paramedics attend emergency calls with regular paramedics but travel in their own SUV. They can practice high-intensity emergency medicine at the scene, such as treating heart attacks, strokes, major trauma and other life-threatening conditions. They also recommend where to transport a patient, whether it to the hospital or another treatment centre.

ALS paramedics can intubate a patient and administer advanced medications instead of waiting to do it at the hospital. They can also start IVs in the event of cardiac arrest when the body’s circulation is shut down.

“The advantage is they are doing this at the scene instead of waiting to transport them to the hospital and having this started there,” he said, adding the region currently only has highly trained primary care paramedics.

READ MORE: B.C. VIEWS: Private health care crackdown touches painful nerve

“Their advanced skills include treating life-threatening cardiac patients and they are also licensed to administer a greater range of pain management,” Boyarski explained.

Advanced life support ambulances operate in large cities with higher populations. The project is looking at whether the service functions in rural areas like rural Okanagan.

“So far, the results have been very positive but we do want to look at the full term of the trial and definitely review our results.”

Just Posted

South Okanagan Cycling Without Age chapter tops in North America

The Penticton chapter of Cycling with Age provides more rides than others in North America.

Former Summerland lifeguard to be sentenced in January

Edward Casavant has pleaded guilty to child assault and pornography charges

Officers’ use of force in Penticton arrest that injured a male driver deemed necessary: Watchdog

IIO reviewed the incident after the driver alleged he was “slammed” to the ground by an officer

Busy lineup of live performances this winter at Penticton’s Cannery Brewing

Musicians like Ari Neufeld will be perfoming at the brewery throughout December and January

Video: Magicians and Bubble Wonders highlight Penticton Shriners Variety Show

The annual fundraiser filled the Cleland Community Theatre on Sunday.

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

B.C. patients wait 41% longer than national average to see a walk-in doctor: Medimap

The longest wait time was found in Sidney, B.C., where patients waited an average of 180 minutes

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Morning start: Did you know there is a Scottish tartan designed for Mars exploration?

Your morning start: Fun fact, weather, and video of the day

Trans-Canada closed east of Golden

An update will be provided at 8:30 a.m.

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

Most Read