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Ruling upholds firing of paramedics who allowed patient to crawl for treatment

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face shield, an N95 in New Westminster, B.C., on April 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – A labour arbitrator in British Columbia says two long-time paramedics should be fired after they were accused of mistreating a patient who was in pain and allowed to crawl to an elevator.

In a written statement issued last month, Paul Love says video from a building in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where Alyson Banner and Michael Crawford were called on Oct. 14, 2019, “shockingly reveals” the paramedics leading a 56-year-old man who is crawling to the elevator.

Love’s decision says Banner claimed a cot wouldn’t fit in the elevator and then told a mental health worker that the writhing man was not in pain and could walk.

Had the mental health worker not spoken up or there was no video evidence, Love says the complaint may not have succeeded.

CUPE Local 873, which represented Banner and Crawford and opposed their discharge, did not respond to a request for comment.

The ruling says the paramedics showed a lack of remorse by being dishonest throughout the investigation and the hearing, prompting what Love says is “most probably” a career ending decision by upholding their firings.