Indigenous man dies while paramedics reportedly stayed 'away'

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Indigenous dies while paramedics reportedly stood “aside”

North West EMS Paramedic Behavior are under review by the Kenora District Service Board.

A social services agency in Kenora, Ontario is investigating after allegations that paramedics stayed away from a First Nation reserve in Ontario during a medical emergency, which turned out to be fatal, took place inside.

Onigaming Ojibway leader Jeff Copenace tells CBC/Radio-Canada that the 30-year-old man is dead after being in medical distress at a First Nation home, located approximately 450 km west of Thunder Bay. CBC/Radio-Canada has agreed not to name him, in accordance with his family's wishes.

According to him, the man's family called 911 Thursday morning as they and several First Nation staff attempted to revive him through chest compressions; the dispatched paramedics remaining in their vehicle on the outskirts of the reservation.

An Ojibway staff member reportedly told the Chief that the paramedics refused to enter the community without an escort police.

They just sat on the sidelines, says Chief Copenace.

“It's only when I I started driving on the freeway, and they [the paramedics] saw a few cars coming, they started going to the scene. I followed them and when I got to the scene the ambulance driver jumped out of his vehicle and I said, “Why were you waiting? What were you doing? He is dying." »

— Jeff Copenace, Chief of the Ojibwe First Nation of Onigaming

The paramedic said, “I've already been dispatched here and we are not not supposed to come in,” recalls Chief Copenace, who was told by the intervenor that they had been attacked at this house before and were awaiting police protection.

After the exchange between Mr. Copenace and the paramedic, an elder took the chief aside to calm him down. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old's uncle and other members of the community shouted for paramedics to come and help as his condition had deteriorated.

Chief Copenace believes this streak lasted about 20 minutes, from the time he was first informed that something was wrong until ;to the death of man.

“I'm sure if it had been a young white man they would have tried to save his life. And because he was First Nations, he was brown, and he was from Onigaming, they decided to let him die, despite our community's best efforts to save the day. life of this young boy.

— Chief Jeff Copenace, Onigaming Ojibway First Nation

I saw this happen in real time in front of me, he says.

CBC/Radio-Canada has not independently verified the details of the incident, but Chief Copenace shared a photo that appears to show the ambulance parked on the side of the road, although it's unclear how long it had been parked there.

A spokesperson for the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) confirmed in an email that it was staff from North West EMS – which are operated by the KDSB – who took the call of the First Nation, and that KDSB staff are currently conducting a full review of the incident and gathering all information regarding this appeal.

In a tweet Thursday after- midday, Canadian Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller says he spoke briefly with Chief Copenace and calls the incident unacceptable.

“The young man's family and the people of Onigaming deserve straight answers”

—Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Minister of Community Services Indigenous, Patty Hajdu, also noted on Twitter that she spoke with Jeff Copenace.

Not being able to access emergency care is unacceptable, she said there. We agreed that federal, provincial and community leaders need to work together to understand how this happened and ensure Onigaming residents can get the care they need when they need it. need.

The First Nation of about 800 registered members has gone through a lot of drama recently and remains in a permanent state of emergency, continues Chief Copenace.

We have had three deaths in the past few weeks. It's the fourth. It just doesn't end, and honestly, it feels like governments, the health care system, and the police don't care. This is how we feel, he regrets.

This is not the first time that Mr. Copenace and other indigenous peoples of Treaty 3 expressed concern about the quality of care provided by military doctors working in Kenora. The Ojibwe chief notably addressed this issue in his speech at the Assembly of First Nations meeting this summer.

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