Episodes 

Critical Levels the Podcast episodes are stored here. Check back often for new episodes! 

Episode 26 | Dr Simon Hatcher – First Responder Mental Health

Episode 26 | Dr Simon Hatcher – First Responder Mental Health

Join us this month as we chat with Dr. Simon Hatcher, psychiatrist at the Ottawa Hospital and Ottawa Inner City Health, about First Responder Mental Health

Who gets PTSD, what’s the pathway/differences to mental health professionals, how do we heal, and how do we get people back to work are all topics we cover, plus more!

Episode 25 | I’ve Got Your Back 911 – Jill Foster & Shaun Taylor

Episode 25 | I’ve Got Your Back 911 – Jill Foster & Shaun Taylor

IVEGOTYOURBACK911 was started by paramedics Jill Foster & Shaun Taylor in 2014. The goal of the campaign is to spread social awareness worldwide in regards to First Responder mental health issues.

On this month’s episode of Critical Levels, we sit down with Jill & Shaun to learn a little bit more about how and why they started the company, and some of the amazing work that they’re doing to help first responders.

Episode 24 | Trauma – Dr Brodie Nolan

Episode 24 | Trauma – Dr Brodie Nolan

On today’s episode, we chat with Dr. Brodie Nolan, an emergency physician and trauma team leader at St. Michael’s Hospital (one of Canada’s largest trauma centres), and a transport medicine physician for ORNGE.

We discuss what trauma is, and how we define hemorrhagic shock. We discuss that trauma triad of death, and why it’s important to get these patients to a lead trauma centre.

These patients ultimately need blood products, so Dr. Nolan walks us through blood/fluid resuscitation, as well as the massive hemorrhage protocol.

Lastly, we cover the prehospital care of these patients: the field trauma triage and air ambulance utilization standards; A-B-Cs (the importance of de-prioritizing intubation and allowing for permissive HYPOtension); the on-scene interventions we should and shouldn’t perform; and what the future looks like for the care of these patients

Episode 23 – PICU & Organ Donation | Dr Sonny Dhanani

Episode 23 – PICU & Organ Donation | Dr Sonny Dhanani

On today’s episode we sit down with Dr. Sonny Dhanani, Chief of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

We discuss the approach and management of the critically ill child, with an in-depth discussion on the A-B-Cs.

With respect to airway, we chat tips/tricks for airway management, as well as intubation.

On the topic of breathing, we chat about bagging and some of the physiological cardio-respiratory concerns of our efforts. We also discuss the causes of arrest and how our interventions may have a role.

Lastly, with respect to the sick child, we cover circulation. Fluid resuscitation (physiology/ type /volume /medical vs. trauma), IOs, the symptomatic bradycardic patient(pacing, pressors/medications, etc.), and shock are all topics on the table.

From here, we pivot to how death is determined, and how organ donation works.

Episode 22 – Human Trafficking – Dr. Lindsay Cheskes

Episode 22 – Human Trafficking – Dr. Lindsay Cheskes

The United Nations (UN) defines human trafficking (HT) as “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception for the purpose of exploitation“.

What is human trafficking? How prevalent is it? What are the red flags? How can I use the history and assessment to raise my index of suspicion? How do I advocate for my patient?

Join our conversation with Dr. Lindsay Cheskes, EM Resident at The Ottawa Hospital, to learn the answers to these questions, and more!

Human trafficking: what do paramedics need to know?

Episode 21 – CMERT | LCol Leilani Doyle

Episode 21 – CMERT | LCol Leilani Doyle

After the War in Afghanistan, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces decided to create a brand new forward aeromedical evacuation capability.

This is where our episode’s guest comes in. We speak with Dr. Leilani Doyle, Lt. Col. with the Canadian Armed Forces about her role in the creation of CMERT – the Canadian Medical Emergency Response Team.

Episode 20 – Good Medicine in Bad Places – Sierra Team & SAR Techs

Episode 20 – Good Medicine in Bad Places – Sierra Team & SAR Techs

On today’s episode, we’re chatting with Matt Cruchet and Sgt. Gregory Hudson

Matt is a key member of the Country of Renfrew Paramedic Service’s Sierra Team – essentially their special operations arm.

Sgt. Hudson is a Search and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech) with the 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron based out of CFB Trenton. Covering more than 10 million sq km, the 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron has a huge responsibility for maritime and aeronautical SAR

We hear about their own unique prehospital roles and responsibilities, then tie it all together using a real case study.

Episode 19 – ROSC Care – Dr Kyeremanteng

Episode 19 – ROSC Care – Dr Kyeremanteng

On today’s episode with Dr. Kyeremanteng, we’re covering all things ROSC: what is ROSC? How do we optimize our patient’s physiology (the A-B-Cs) post-arrest? What happens next – what’s TTM, how does neuroprognostication happen? Lastly, we cover what is the impact to the healthcare system at large.

Episode 18 – Prehospital Obstetrics | Dr. Posner

Episode 18 – Prehospital Obstetrics | Dr. Posner

Obstetrics. Arguably one of the scarier and uncomfortable things we do as paramedics, at least that’s what I think.

If you’re looking for a way to make this tremendously stressful call just a little bit easier, then I think you’ve come to the right spot.

On this engaging episode of Critical Levels, we’re talking with Dr. Glenn Posner about the Prehospital OB assessment, the uncomplicated birth, and how to handle some of the more complicated presentations in the field.

Episode 17 – Strokes | Dr Grant Stotts

Episode 17 – Strokes | Dr Grant Stotts

CVA are amongst the top 5 causes of death, and number 1 cause of disability in N.A. Given the associated morbidity and mortality, rapid recognition and aggressive management is of the utmost importance.

Join us as we chat with Dr. Grant Stotts to discuss all things in the prehospital world of stroke: What is a stroke? How do we diagnose it prehospitally? How should we be treating them? What happens once we get to the ED?

Episode 16 – Critical Care Paramedicine and ORNGE | Natalie Lavergne

Episode 16 – Critical Care Paramedicine and ORNGE | Natalie Lavergne

A vital part of Ontario’s health care system, Ornge provides high quality air ambulance service and medical transport to people who are ill or injured. In the air and on the ground, our job is to be there for patients, so they can get where they need to be.

Ornge serves more than 13 million people over one million square kilometres of land— the size of France, Spain and the Netherlands combined.

We have the largest air ambulance and critical care land ambulance fleet in Canada, and perform approximately 20,000 patient-related transports per year.

Episode 15 – The Hamilton Verdict | A Legal Analysis with Chris Robertson

Episode 15 – The Hamilton Verdict | A Legal Analysis with Chris Robertson

On June 8, 2021, the Honorable Justice Arrell gave his judgement finding two Hamilton Paramedics guilty of failing to provide the necessities of life in relation to a call they attended on December 2nd, 2017. This is potentially a precedent setting case not only for paramedics but for the greater health care community. On todays’ episode we analyze the case and what it means with former paramedic and current lawyer Chris Robertson.

Episode 14 – Bruises, Breaks & Burns: Child & Youth Maltreatment – Dr Michelle Ward

Episode 14 – Bruises, Breaks & Burns: Child & Youth Maltreatment – Dr Michelle Ward

Unlike any other health care professionals, paramedics have the unique opportunity in entering the homes of some of their patients. With this comes a certain responsibility and obligation to report any indications of risk, especially with pediatric populations. With pediatric populations sometimes it is difficult to determine what injuries can be caused by normal childhood behaviour, accidents, or child maltreatment.

Episode 13 – The Critically Ill Paediatric Patient – Jonathan Lee

Episode 13 – The Critically Ill Paediatric Patient – Jonathan Lee

In contrast to adult patients, pediatric patients do not follow simple rules and as such, there is no one “magic number” to use as a predictor for patient condition, such as SBP in adults. In contrast, the best predictor for pediatric patients is getting the whole picture. No one vital sign trumps, the other instead they all build on one another to provide a better picture of what is happening. The most important part of a pediatric call is knowing recognizing that they are sick and knowing which tools can be used to help them.

Episode 12 – The ABCs Of Cardiac Arrest Management Part 2 – Dr Ian Drennen

Episode 12 – The ABCs Of Cardiac Arrest Management Part 2 – Dr Ian Drennen

There are several theories that suggest why double sequential defibrillation and/or vector change defibrillation may be effective.

Energy theory: increased energy delivery allows for defibrillation of a critical mass of myocardium terminating the refractory VF.
Setting up theory: the first shock reduces the threshold and results in a more successful second shock.
Multiple vector theory: change in pads (or additional pads) changes the energy vector defibrillating parts of myocardium not adequately defibrillated in standard position.

Episode 11 – The ABCs of Cardiac Arrest Management – Dr Ian Drennan

Episode 11 – The ABCs of Cardiac Arrest Management – Dr Ian Drennan

high-quality BLS management of cardiac arrest is essential. This includes ensuring CPR and ventilation quality including the use of feedback devices and measuring and providing feedback of performance. Once the BLS stuff is taken care of, treatment/management should be dictated by the patient. This may or may not prioritize the airway.

Perhaps most important, is early access and early drug administration. The evidence points that IV access may be better than IO and that medications are still useful, especially early during the resuscitation.

Episode 10 – Tactical Paramedicine – Ben Jolicoeur

Episode 10 – Tactical Paramedicine – Ben Jolicoeur

Tactical paramedicine is the provision of prehospital medicine within a hostile environment, that requires knowledge of tactics, special equipment, and specialized personalized protective equipment (PPE). The PPE and the training, is really what separates this team from regular operations.

Episode 9 – Cognitive Biases – Dr. Vanessa Bohn

Episode 9 – Cognitive Biases – Dr. Vanessa Bohn

Emergency medicine and paramedicine, one can argue, are highly cognitive professions. One of the pitfalls to this specialty however is the level of risk involved.

Medical error is the 6th leading cause of death in North America, and some studies have shown that cognitive error or some flaw in decision making – as opposed to lack of knowledge – is present in about 95% of cases where there was a medical error. Moreover, The most recent institute of medicine report says, that as a patient, it’s not if you’ll be subjected to a diagnostic error, but when.

Episode 8 – COVID19: What Paramedics Need to Know – Jason Buick

Episode 8 – COVID19: What Paramedics Need to Know – Jason Buick

“Pandemics are in a rare and stressful time for health care providers with overwhelming caseloads, rapidly evolving information, and competing priorities of self-protection, while maintaining a high level of patient care.”

In this episode of Critical Levels Jason Buick discusses his recent research article COVID-19: What Paramedics Need To Know and attempts explain and bring some clarity to the many changes Paramedics have faced since the pandemic started. 

Episode 7 – We speak for the dead – Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion

Episode 7 – We speak for the dead – Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion

Across the world, every death investigation system is different – some are municipal, or state-based, but in Canada, it’s a provincial system. In Ontario, the system is the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service. In Ontario, all Coroners are licensed physicians (same with PEI), while in other provinces, they are not necessarily physicians

Importantly, the motto of The Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario is: “We speak for the dead to protect the living”

Episode 6 – Calming the Chaos – Will Johnston – Part 2

Episode 6 – Calming the Chaos – Will Johnston – Part 2

Part 2 – Paramedics work in a an extremely unique clinical environment. We’re tasked with working in small ad-hoc teams, we’re required to make decisions that can have significant impacts on patient outcomes, and all of this often occurs in novel environments with many external stressors – making these decisions that much more difficult.

Episode 5 – Calming the Chaos – Will Johnston – Part 1

Episode 5 – Calming the Chaos – Will Johnston – Part 1

Paramedics work in a an extremely unique clinical environment. We’re tasked with working in small ad-hoc teams, we’re required to make decisions that can have significant impacts on patient outcomes, and all of this often occurs in novel environments with many external stressors – making these decisions that much more difficult.

Episode 8 – COVID19: What Paramedics Need to Know – Jason Buick

Episode 4 – Novel Coronavirus – Dr. Vera Etches

In December 2019, cluster of cases of pneumonia was reported in Wuhan, China and the cause of this cluster was a new coronavirus not previously found in humans.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses, that are shaped like a crown. Crown in Latin is “corona”, hence the name coronavirus, and they have been around for decades. Generally, symptoms tend to be mild, and in fact coronaviruses are one of the main causes of the common cold. Every once in a while, we see a more severe strain of the virus, such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) which arose from civet cats in China in 2003, and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), which was identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, which are also coronavirus’.

Episode 2 – Paediatric Concussion – Dr. Roger Zemek

Episode 2 – Paediatric Concussion – Dr. Roger Zemek

Approximately 1000 kids come to CHEO each year (~3/day) with new concussions, and more kids are being diagnosed with concussion than ever before.

The number of kids diagnosed with concussions has quadrupled over the past 10 years. That doesn’t mean 4 x as many kids are having head injuries, but the awareness and the understanding that these kids need medical assessment/follow-up has increased. More kids are not necessarily getting hurt, but more kids are getting seen. Interestingly, there was a big spike in the number of ED visits related to concussion after Sidney Crosby’s concussion in 2011.

Episode 1 – An Introduction

Episode 1 – An Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to “Critical Levels” - a new podcast dedicated to having critical conversations in paramedicine. This episode is a brief introduction to the new “Critical Levels” podcast series - a podcast directed at paramedics, for paramedics, with a Canadian and local bias. Please reach out – email us at info@criticallevels.ca, or connect via social media – I welcome any questions, comments, ideas, and any feedback you have so that we can make this...