Having greater familiarity with large buildings such as W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford would benefit local paramedics, a coroner’s jury was told.
“From my experience during my orientation as a new hire we were told the location of the (Brantford General) hospital and told the location of the (ambulance) bases,” Craig Deryk, an advanced paramedic with Brant Brantford Paramedic Services, testified Friday. “During our ride alongs, when we’re a new hire, we get shown around to the different staples of Brantford and Paris such as nursing homes, large shopping centers or places of interest within Brantford.
“But we have never been given internal tour of any of those facilities whether it be a nursing home, school, a large building say, like the library, we’re just shown where it was.”
Deryk said if paramedics had more of an understanding of the intricacies of the inside of these buildings, of where we would be going, have that familiarity to rely on if there was no one who does know the building help them.
Familiarity with large institutions and buildings by paramedics was raised as a question during Deryk’s testimony at the Samuel Brown inquest on Friday.
Samuel, 18, died Feb. 9, 2018 after being rushed to Brantford General Hospital from the provincially-run school.
Samuel died of pneumonia. The inquest, which began Aug. 28, has heard that he had trouble swallowing and, as a result, was vulnerable to aspiration and pneumonia. Aspiration is the collection of food, liquids or other substances in the lungs which can lead to pneumonia.
A student at W. Ross Macdonald since he was four years of age, Samuel stayed at South View Lodge at the school during the week and returned to his Brampton home on weekends during the school year.
Jurors heard how overnight staff found Samuel unresponsive when they tried to wake him at 6 a..m. Feb. 9 to change his diaper. Efforts to rouse him were unsuccessful and 911 was called.
Brantford firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to the school.
Firefighters were sent to the scene from the former Station 2 fire hall, which was then located on St. Paul Avenue next to a BGH parking lot. The paramedics were dispatched from their home base on Henry Street, east of Wayne Gretzky Parkway on the other side of Brantford.
The firefighters arrived first and began efforts to save Samuel including using CPR.
The paramedics arrived at the school but were delayed in reaching Samuel because they didn’t know specifically where they were supposed to go upon reaching the school grounds.
Deryk said someone was supposed to meet the paramedics by the school administration office and direct them to Samuel’s room. However, upon arrival, no one was there.
It could have been a mistake or it could have been a misunderstanding. Perhaps, the person who called 911 mistakenly thought that the firefighters would be the only service responding to the emergency, Deryk said.
The paramedics were directed to Samuel by a firefighter after some discussions through dispatch. Upon arrival, paramedics took over resuscitation efforts and transported Samuel to hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
There was no hint or suggestion during testimony that the confusion and delay in any way contributed to Samuel’s passing.
However, a conversation between the paramedics and dispatch was played for the jury. The recorded conversation included a reference to another school and 120 Brant Ave., the address of Brantford Collegiate Institute. The references prompted a question from a juror.
“There’s a little confusion I have about the other school “we’re at the other school.” the juror said. “Did you go to BCI accidentally at 120 Brant Ave.?
“Or did the ‘other school’ pertain to ‘hey at the W. Ross Macdonald School for the blind. It’s a big campus, there are different schools located here. So are we at the right school on this campus’?”
Deryk said “from my knowledge no, BCI was not attended by us. That’s quite a distance down from the school that we ended up seeing Samuel at.
“It (W. Ross Macdonald) is a very large campus but up until now, I actually wasn’t aware that there’s possibly a different school.”
Deryk said he’s always just known it as the deaf/blind school in Brantford.
The juror then asked if Deryk or his fellow workers had ever had a tour of the W. Ross Macdonald School campus by security staff to better prepare them for emergency calls at such locations.
“No, we’ve never been given an official tour or any information, as a service, that I know of, of the intricacies of the campus.
The inquest continues Tuesday Sept. 5. It can be viewed at https://firstclassfacilitation.ca/office-of-the-chief-coroner/inquest-into-the-death-of-samuel-brown/ .