Ontario’s Ornge air ambulance system remains under government scrutiny. In testimony before the Provincial Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee March 6, the then-head of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Chris Lewis, said its anti-rackets branch is expanding its investigation to include interviewing witnesses in the U.S. and Italy and seeking documents from those jurisdictions.
Canadian health and safety investigators charged Ontario’s troubled air ambulance service, Ornge, with 17 violations of the Canadian Labor Code related to the nighttime crash of a Sikorsky S-76A on May 31 last year near its base in rural northern Mosonee that killed its four-man crew. The helicopter went down shortly after takeoff en route to a patient pick-up.
Ontario’s provincially operated air ambulance service continues to restructure, eliminating 25 management jobs–including vice president, aviation–adding eight new jobs and reclassifying 15 to save $1 million. Ornge still employs 650.
A little more than a month after Ontario’s provincially funded air ambulance service Ornge suffered a fatal crash, the Province’s coroner has released the results of a special investigation into 40 Ornge patient transport-related deaths between 2006 and 2012. Operational errors at Ornge contributed to eight of those deaths, according to the July report, which also made 25 recommendations to improve service at Ornge.
A helicopter air ambulance belonging to Ontario’s provincially funded service, Ornge, crashed shortly after takeoff May 31, killing its four-man crew of two pilots and two flight paramedics. The 1980 Sikorsky S-76A took off from rural Moosonee along St. James Bay at 12:10 a.m. en route to the remote First Nation village of Attawapiskat for a patient pick-up. It crashed almost immediately after takeoff into a densely wooded area less than 3,000 feet off the airport and burned.
The Pilatus PC-12 turboprop single is gaining ground as a cost-effective alternative to helicopter air ambulances.
Canadian air ambulance operator Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, has introduced a new interior for its AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters that allows paramedics to perform CPR “at any time during flight, reduces the risk of tubes snagging on equipment and gives better access to the patient and medical bags and supplies.”
Details from more than 3,000 pages of expenses charged to the Ontario government’s troubled air ambulance service, Ornge, by former CEO Dr. Chris Mazza have been made public. Mazza was fired last February in the wake of performance and financial irregularities at the company. Between 2005 and 2007, his expenses totaled more than $121,000, and his pace of spending increased in subsequent years.
The man charged with overseeing the investigation into patient deaths at Ontario’s provincially funded air ambulance service was named its new CEO yesterday. Ontario coroner Andrew McCallum, M.D., a certified private pilot, former Canadian Forces flight surgeon and emergency medicine specialist, will take over the troubled air ambulance service in January.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty resigned last week and “prorogued” (read: suspended) the provincial parliament, a move that automatically shuts down its Committee on Public Accounts’ ongoing investigation into Ornge, the provincially funded air ambulance service.
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