If Ottawa Airport wants a paramedic posted there around the clock, it’s going to have to pay for it.
Yesterday, city council passed a motion asking the Ottawa International Airport Authority to cover the $225,000 per year it would cost to post a paramedic there full-time — a decision the authority called “disappointing.”
Coun. Diane Deans said there’s no debate about the value of having a medical response team at the airport, but there is a question of who should pay for it. Ottawa would be better served, she said, by investing that money to hire responders that could help the whole city.
But Ottawa Airport spokesperson Krista Kealey called the decision disappointing. “We went into this as a partnership and that’s how we were hoping to proceed,” she said.
Kealey said a paramedic at the airport would free up an ambulance that otherwise makes a trip to the airport nearly every day.
Coun. Marianne Wilkinson said posting ambulances to the airport would not be the best use of resources, given the shortage of ambulances Ottawa has been experiencing recently.
“I don’t think we should be giving ultimate response to one patient per day while others in the city have no response at all,” she said.
A coroner’s inquest into the death of Stephane Michaud recommended having paramedics posted at the airport. Michaud died on June 5, 2005, at the Ottawa General hospital following an altercation while in police custody at the city’s airport.