A paramedic treating a patient was seriously injured yesterday after the ambulance they were in collided with a transport truck in Richmond Hill.
The York Region ambulance was transporting a patient with respiratory problems to York Central Hospital when it collided with the truck on 16th Ave. at Valleymede Rd. around 10 a.m.
The paramedic in the back of the ambulance attending to the patient, identified only as a woman, was thrown around the inside of the ambulance and suffered serious head injuries.
He was taken to Sunnybrook hospital, according to police, who noted they do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. “Inside the vehicle, there’s lots of drawers, cabinets, steel bars, that kind of stuff … and (the paramedic) received head injuries,” said York police Insp. Norn Miles. “We don’t know his condition, but we do know it’s serious.”
The female patient, who did not suffer any additional injuries, was taken to York Central and police said neither the driver of the ambulance nor the driver of the transport truck were injured.
Because of the crash, 16th Ave. was closed in both directions for several hours.
Shortly after the crash, police didn’t know what caused the accident.
“We don’t know whether the driver (of the transport truck) actually saw (the paramedics) or not, but … it’s a clear, bright and sunny day and there should not have been a problem seeing the vehicle,” Miles said, noting the ambulance did have its emergency lights and sirens on.
Norm Barrette, the acting general manager of York Regional EMS, said paramedics face similar dangers as police officers and firefighters, even if the public doesn’t know it.
“The challenge of working in a metropolitan area is just the volume of traffic. When we’re trying to get to somebody or take somebody to the hospital, motorists are always a significant consideration,” he said, noting he couldn’t comment on yesterday’s accident directly. “Thankfully, (ambulance accidents) are not a regular occurrence here or even throughout the province… Events such as (yesterday’s) are few and far in between.”
Almost a year ago, a 30-year-old paramedic in southern Ontario was killed while responding to a vehicle crash near Chatham.
His Paramedic Response Unit SUV slid off an icy roadway and rolled into a ditch.
By BRYN WEESE, SUN MEDIA