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Draft report contains inaccuracies: STARS

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A STARS helicopter sits on a remote island in the Whiteshell.

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A draft report of recommendations surrounding Manitoba STARS air ambulance, commissioned by Manitoba Health, contains a "number of inaccuracies," STARS representatives charge.

The recommendations, which were reported by CBC Manitoba on Tuesday night, stem from an internal review of STARS by Dr. Stephen Wheeler, medical director of B.C. Air Ambulance and Critical Care Transport. Most of the recommendations focused on STARS' "grossly inefficient training program" and highlighted 16 cases where patient quality of care "came into question," the CBC reported.

However, STARS spokesman Colin Fast said the recommendations -- which were presented to the air ambulance services "several weeks" ago -- contain "a number of inaccuracies."

"We disagree strongly with some aspects of the report," Fast said.

STARS' chief medical officer, Dr. J.N. Armstrong, added the draft report should "significantly change" once some of the information is challenged.

"The report didn't have all the information that would have been helpful," Armstrong told the Free Press Tuesday. "We had a lot of information that could have been helpful that didn't get to the consultant (Wheeler).

"The biggest issue was the time lines," he added. "They were too short. As a result, the information gathered was incomplete."

For example, Armstrong noted the report cited a case where a STARS patient ran out of oxygen on a flight. "In fact, it did not," he said. "The tank ran low, the crew recognized it and changed it out, but reported it (as an area of attention)."

In the draft, according to the CBC report, Wheeler wrote: "As a group, the nurses and paramedics lack adequate training and experience to work in the air medical environment. Compared to other air medical transport programs across the country, its training program is remarkably brief and cannot provide the necessary amount of training required for modern, complex, critical-care transports."

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Erin Selby declined comment, noting: "The report in question is not final yet."

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 19, 2014 A5

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