Nanaimo paramedics triumph with Team B.C. at international competition

By Spencer Sterritt
May 28, 2018 - 4:23pm

Team BC celebrating in the Czech Republic after a grueling day of challenges. submitted/Alex Mattes

Team BC trained for months, which Mattes said was a smooth and dynamic experience.submitted/Alex Mattes

NANAIMO — Two Nanaimo paramedics and two others from the mainland faced an emotional and difficult challenge while recently in the Czech Republic.

They came to the scene of a newborn baby in full cardiac arrest after the mother suddenly gave birth out of hospital.

Nanaimo paramedic Alex Mattes said it was an intense situation and the four paramedics had to use every skill they'd learned and every tool they had.

“At that point we've pretty much got three patients. We've got a baby to deal with, a mother who's still bleeding and now dad is worried about both his wife and son who was just born,” Mattes told NanaimoNewsNOW over the phone from Prague.

To make matters worse, the son didn't survive and Mattes team had to tell the parents.

It's an emotional scenario but thankfully the stakes weren't life and death, since the paramedics moved to the next challenge at the Rallye Rejviz International Paramedic Competition.

Mattes and his team- Stu Myers of Nanaimo, Ron Van Houten from Richmond and Gene Benoit stationed in Vancouver-brought home the gold after acing 11 grueling tests and scoring significantly more points than the second place finisher.

Mattes said the competition is a time to show off the great care patients in B.C. receive at the scene of an injury or en route to a hospital, but it's also a great way to learn.

“A lot of paramedics who come here say it's changed their practice and how they do things. You're seeing all these different methods of doing the same type of job, which is so cool to see.”

Mattes said practicing for the competition and then succeeding at the world stage helped him stay focused specifically on patient care, which can sometimes be tough in the whirlwind of a medical response.

“After 21 years, no matter what job you have, you can potentially become a little bit complacent,” he said. “What this competition has really reminded me of is doing a call right from start to finish and making sure you've got all your t's crossed and i's dotted. There's so many little things you can miss.”

Mattes said returning to B.C. with the gold medal will help create a greater sense of trust with their patients, which is crucial when responding to any sort of accident.


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