Essex-Windsor EMS hosts first international exchange

Filed under: IN THE NEWS |

by Sylene Argent

Essex-Windsor EMS and its competition team, EMS Team Ontario, welcomed Dr. Erika Jamrichova, a cardiologist resident of Slovakia, to the region recently.

Mike Filiault, an Advanced Care Paramedic with Essex-Windsor EMS and a member of EMS Team Ontario, was a lead on a project that brought Jamrichova to the region. Team Ontario first met her at a competition in 2016. She was a judge, giving the local, winning team advice from the passenger seat as they competed.

“She was there for guidance and to talk about the calls,” he said from Essex MP Tracey Ramsey’s office on Friday afternoon. Ramsey wanted the chance to meet with Jamrichova and present her with a token of recognition.

After that competition, Filiault thought to himself, “Why not ask her to come to Canada because we learned so much from her.” The local competition team and Jamrichova built a relationship through that competition, he said, explaining that in Slovakia, there are paramedic-physicians who transport patients to hospital.

“EMS Team Ontario was lucky to learn from others,” Filiault said of the national competition. “I wanted to bring that experience back home for others to learn from.”

“That’s true Essex County spirit right there,” Ramsey commented on Filiault wanting to create an educational opportunity for fellow paramedics.

“They didn’t really need me,” a humble Jamrichova responded to Filiault’s compliments, and further noted she was thoroughly enjoying her three-week visit to Canada, which was including ride-a-longs with Essex-Windsor EMS shifts and two ER shifts at the hospital.

What the international and national EMS competitions provided, Filiault explained, was an opportunity for healthcare professionals to learn from one another. That was were the idea to bring Jamrichova to the region started. He figured the local paramedic service could learn from her, and in tern, she could learn something different here that could be brought back to Slovakia, too.

With her experience, “There was no better candidate,” Filiault explained. “She knows what we do every single day.” He hoped paramedics would now be able to visit Jamrichova is Slovakia to continue on with this exchange-type program.

He was grateful to the County of Essex, Essex-Windsor EMS, St. Clair College, fellow paramedics, and Dr. Bradford for their support of this exchange program, that was not only a unique and advanced learning opportunity, but also a chance for Jamrichova to experience the region. She was even treated to a quick visit to Niagara Falls before coming to town and getting to work with the local service.

Jamrichova also thanked Dr. Marian Krizko of St. Michael’s Hospital for allowing her to come to Canada and learn through this experience.

Jamrichova said this was her first visit to Canada. “It’s been an amazing experience,” she said, adding the two night shifts she worked with paramedics was fantastic. “I admire their attitudes…the paramedics are all smiling. It is my honour to be here.”

Though Jamrichova was able to give advice through this unique exchange, she was also able to learn. She said a couple different scenarios came up when she was on shift where paramedics used a different procedure to help a patient than how she would have typically handled the situation. Those procedures may come in handy in the future for safety plans.