May 26, 2015 at 3:51 PM
As we continue to celebrate National Paramedic Week, I'm please to introduce you to your next BC Paramedic - Casey Forslund.
Ambulance Paramedics of BC
CUPE Local 873
Casey Forslund - Primary Care Paramedic - Duncan Station, Vancouver Island
I come from a family with quite a connection to emergency services: twin brothers who are RCMP officers, two uncles who are Paramedics and Fire Chiefs, a brother-in-law in municipal policing, another brother-in-law who juggles police, full-time Paramedicine, Fire and Search & Rescue... you get the point!
My first spark of interest in EMS came late in life though. I was working full-time in my primary occupation as a professional educator at a community college (I hold degrees in Commerce and Education from Uvic and SFU, respectively). I saw how absolutely passionate my brother-in-law (Jordan Lawrence) was about his work as a Paramedic; how he ate, breathed and lived for it. The more I watched and got to know him, the more curious I became at how someone could truly love their job. I took an Emergency Medical Responder course to test the waters and began working evenings and weekends at Kitwanga, Hazelton and Smithers stations. I was utterly and completely hooked. So hooked in fact, that I dove in to take Primary Care Paramedic as soon as possible, and have put my former career on the back-burner so I can take a crack at making Paramedicine my primary career.
I have worked in many different occupations, but this job is the only one where I just can’t get enough. I never dread going to the next shift; in fact – I look forward to it! The unpredictability of what will happen next (and improvising and adapting to overcome) is one of the many facets of what make this job so interesting to me. Many people search their whole lives to find a job that gives them a sense of making a positive difference in the world. I’ve found that; for me it’s Paramedicine.
Over my six and a half years of service, there have been so many memorable calls. My first cardiac arrest call was 2 weeks after being hired, and the patient was an internationally famous artist. His daughter (who was present) was a co-worker of mine and close family friend. I was deeply blessed to be partnered with a skilled veteran of the service (Cliff Coukell), who did an amazing job of guiding me through a profoundly intimidating situation – both in caring for the patient and the family. I probably would have crumbled if it weren’t for his calm leadership and experience carrying us through that call.
Just before leaving the Northwest, I was called to my first true Multi Casualty Incident; the Burns Lake Mill explosion. My partner (Mike Larsen) deftly navigated our ambulance through blizzard conditions, dodging moose along the way multiple times to get us on scene safe and ready to assist. On that horrendous call, we had over 20 patients with serious and painful injuries. The tiny medical centre was quickly overwhelmed, and we worked incessantly alongside the nurses and physicians slathering Flamazine ointment on patients, applying burn dressings and assisting with IV’s/and pain control medication before shipping them out to specialty burn units. It was really inspiring to see how much of a positive difference our medics were able to make, in an otherwise terrifying situation.
I could recite so many more calls (as we all can), but the bottom line is that I feel honoured and privileged to be a Paramedic, and I’m in it for life!