Fri, Dec 23, 2011
ORNGE Aircraft Sits Idle For Hours, Company Says Medics Not
The helicopter operated by ORNGE Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada
reportedly sits idle for hours at a time when it could be
responding to medical emergencies because of a shortage of trained
paramedics to fly on the aircraft.
Pilots have noted "No Medics" in their logbooks hundreds of
times over the past year, according to a report in the Canadian
online news site thestar.com. Sources inside the company told the
service that reassigning the medics means that it can not respond
to accidents or other emergencies in areas that only a helicopter
can reach. However, ORNGE spokesman James MacDonald said that
company medical personnel are "not vehicle specific."
Log entries show that the helo was listed as "out of service"
237 times over 10 months for lack of medics available to fly.
The service has 170 paramedics, according to the Canadian Auto
Worker's Union which represents them. Union official Ron Smith said
he was unaware that the helicopter was out of service so
frequently, and said a team should be assigned to Thunder Bay to be
sure it is always staffed.
MacDonald defended the staffing decisions, saying medical
personnel are assigned to "the most appropriate and efficient
vehicle to meet the patients needs." He said that using the current
system the Thunder Bay base has reached 57 percent more patients
with no increase in cost.
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