Terminated advanced care paramedic Sean Mitchell recently shared his COVID-related testimony during the second day of hearings on April first at the National Citizens Inquiry in Toronto, Ontario.
Having been a paramedic within the Regional Municipality of Durham since 2009, Mitchell describes a decrease in call volumes throughout 2020 – a time when Canadians were being terrorized by public health messaging about the deadly novel pathogen now known as COVID-19.
Mitchell backs up his claims with data from the Regional Municipality of Durham's Health & Social Services Committee Agenda dating back to October 2021.
It shows an increase in emergency call volumes of roughly four to five percent year over year from 2016 to 2020.
In 2020, however, there was a 0.7% decrease in call volumes.
“There was a five or six percent decrease in call volumes based on the trends from the years prior so that supports my experience as a paramedic working in 2020 and systemically within the Region of Durham Paramedic Services,” Mitchell explains.
In late 2020 and into the early months of 2021, this changed.
“We saw an increase in call volume, hospitals were busier and our offload delays were much more substantial. That was again, all supported by multiple pieces of management correspondence thanking us for taking increased overtime shifts due to staff shortages and covering off sick or injured paramedics,” details Mitchell.
“In 2021 our chief head sent an email stating that offload delays more than doubled from the year prior,” explains Mitchell. This shows a lack in hospital capacity to assign beds to patients coming in via ambulance.
Furthermore, Mitchell discusses the near 65% increase in Workplace Safety and Insurance Benefits pay-outs for employees of the Regional Municipality of Durham.
Consolidated Financial Statements for the region showed benefit payments totaled $5, 986, 000 in 2020 and increasing astronomically to $9, 202, 000 in 2021, a year when the region imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates onto its employees.
Mitchell explains that as a result of this policy, he was placed on unpaid leave with human resource staff telling him that the leave also signified the beginning of an 8-week termination notice.
“I had been told that I would be terminated unless I got vaccinated for weeks prior. I had to take my child off of the list for daycare and seek other employment. Then, after the termination date, they said that I could come back to work.”
Yet Mitchell was left without childcare and needed a few months to sort that out. When he was unable to work all of the shifts that he was tasked with, his employer deemed that he had resigned.
Prior to the rigmarole of job loss, Mitchell details an increase in young, under 40 year old's seeking emergency services.
“I was seeing them fairly regularly,” he says of the concerning symptoms such as stroke indicators, neurological and cardiac problems that he had never encountered in his career prior to 2021.
When Mitchell tried to bring forward a data collecting initiative on recently vaccinated people seeking emergency services, he was unsuccessful.
“Finally I was told by my chief that we don’t have a duty to report adverse events, it’s not in a piece of legislation that he quoted, even though that legislation did say that any healthcare provider is encouraged to report those kinds of events,” said Mitchell.
He explains that some were documented on electronic patient call reports.
“Other paramedics were doing the same but there was never any real follow up. It was like they either didn’t care or they wanted to suppress that because the narrative at the time was to get everyone vaccinated,” Mitchell explains.
In gathering patient history, many patients also began questioning if their medical woes could be a result of their recent novel injections.
Without a system in place to capture these potential reactions, a safety signal could not be triggered.