Local paramedic honoured for her bravery

By Lindsay Advocate

On Wednesday evening the Ontario government honoured paramedics from across the province with the inaugural Ontario Medal of Paramedic Bravery.

On Wednesday evening the Ontario government honoured paramedics from across the province with the inaugural Ontario Medal of Paramedic Bravery. The medal is given to paramedics who have demonstrated great courage risking their lives to save the lives of others.

“Kawartha Lakes is excited to share that one of our very own, paramedic Beatrice Frasca, was one of the recipients of the Ontario Medal of Paramedic Bravery,” states a press release.

The Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, presented the medals to 10 paramedics in a ceremony at Queen’s Park.

“As Lieutenant Governor, I have witnessed first-hand the remarkable selflessness and bravery of first-responders,” said the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell. “While it is often said we live in an uncertain time, few Ontarians actually experience uncertainty in their everyday working lives in quite the way that paramedics do. Before their shifts begin, they don’t know where they will be dispatched, under what circumstances, or how they will be asked to help. On behalf of a very grateful province, I thank this year’s exceptional award recipients for their commitment, their incredible courage, and their dedicated service.”

Here is Frasca’s story:

On October 20, 2021, while off-duty, Frasca was hiking with two friends, another off-duty paramedic and an off duty ICU nurse, at Bruce Peninsula National Park. Their small group had planned to take in the sights of the park and the Grotto rock formation before heading to a campsite for the night.

Once arriving to the area of the Grotto, they observed a group of four young men that appeared to be preparing to jump off the rock face into the waters below. Frasca and her friends knew that this area of the Georgian Bay shoreline was particularly dangerous with cold and strong water currents and tried alerting the men by shouting to get their attention.

She stated that despite their attempts, the first man jumped into the water below, followed closely by the second. Frasca reported that at that moment, she knew something was wrong when she heard the jovial sounds that were coming from the group of men, turn to panic. Frasca and her friends moved to an area where they were able to see the men in the water, all while the third man jumped from the rock into the water below.

Frasca noticed that two of the young men were trying to hold the third man’s lifeless body out of the water. Frasca and her friends started shouting to move the man to the shore, but were unable to communicate due to the distance and a language barrier. Frasca and the off-duty ICU nurse made the decision to climb down the rock face to assist the men, while the third member of their party – the other off-duty paramedic – moved to higher ground to get reception for a 911 call.

Frasca and her friend cautiously descended into the Grotto and dragged the man to shore. On assessment, they found the man to be without vital signs and began CPR.  They performed CPR, as well as consoled the two young men for almost an hour before emergency services and the Coast Guard arrived. On arrival to the scene, paramedics from Bruce County used ropes to lower equipment to the scene below. The women were able to relay their findings to the Paramedics and coordinate communications to a Base Hospital Physician.

Unfortunately, despite all efforts, the man did not survive and the two responders then diverted their efforts to the other men that were suffering from cold exposure, as well as the emotional distress caused by the events that had just occurred. Rescue efforts, including the Coast Guard were coordinated to retrieve the two men for further assessment at local hospital, following which Frasca and her friend climbed back up the Grotto with the assistance of emergency responders on scene.

“We are incredibly proud and honoured to have Beatrice as a part of our team and applaud her for her quick action and heroic efforts,” said Chief Sara Johnston, Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service.

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