Sunday, 13 February 2011

CHARITY ~ Manitou Ambulance Board ~ Power Stretcher

Receipt for Donation (above)
 and Newsletter (below) 
Many of the residents of Neilburg/Marsden and the surrounding areas have been guilty of taking our ambulance services for granted.

My neighbour, who used to work at the Neilburg Hospital, (which is now non-existent), has told me stories about "days gone-by," when there wasn't an ambulance to call.  She recounted to me how, after a severe farm accident, one man was transported to Edmonton in the back of a station wagon.  The doctor, himself, was driving and his wife, was tending to the patient in the back of the vehicle.  Luckily the man lived to tell the tale, although he lost his arm as a result of his injuries.  She felt that particular incident had been  instrumental in obtaining ambulance services for our Village and the entire surrounding district.

For many years a volunteer squad has staffed an ambulance that has been kept at the Manitou Health Centre.  However, this past summer, due to budgeting decisions taken by the Board of the Prairie North Regional Health Authority (PNRHA), there was a very real possibility that the service would no longer be locally based.  Plans had already been made to have ambulance coverage, from other areas, service this district ~ and then word leaked out of the PNRHA's intentions!

A few weeks later, a controversial public meeting was held.  The majority in attendance felt it was dangerous to rely on the ambulance service from Cut Knife, and other surrounding communities, to come to our aid, in the case of an emergency.  The distance was too great and it would take too long for help to arrive.

Eventually, negotiations were conducted with representatives from the Villages of Neilburg and Marsden and the Rural Municipalities of Hillsdale No. 440 and Manitou Lake No. 442, meeting with members of the PNRHA Board.

Due to this negotiation process, the Manitou Ambulance Board was created with representation from all of the above groups.  The Ambulance Board is working with the PNRHA to keep the service based out of Neilburg.  This has come at a cost to the local citizens, as stand by wages, licensing of EMT's and purchasing of any Capital Medical Equipment for inside the ambulance (such as a heart monitor) will have to be covered.    Some of these expenses will be covered by a 0.50 mill rate increase on the 2010 confirmed tax assessment.

However, the Manitou Ambulance Board is currently in need of a Power Stretcher.  They plan to purchase one at a cost of $13,500.00, plus taxes.  Donations towards this much needed piece of equipment can be made at the Neilburg Village Office, during business hours.  The Village will, in turn, transfer the monies to the Ambulance Board, and provide donors with a charitable receipt.

Alisdair attended the public meeting, at the Community Hall, last summer.  Even before the meeting, he was concerned enough to write a Letter to David Fan, the CEO of the PNRHA and to forward the same letter on to several newspapers for publication.  And so, it probably should have come as no surprise to me, when he suggested making this month's charitable donation (from his paper route earnings) to the Manitou Ambulance Board's stretcher fund.  In explaining his decision, Alisdair said, "Charity begins at home, Mum!"

We aren't sure what the new stretcher will look like, but apparently they are able to easily lift up to 700 pounds at the press of a button.  I am sure this will be much easier to use than the current, outdated stretcher that has served its purpose for many, many years. 

A "Power Stretcher" in use

Unfortunately, Alisdair was only able to make a small donation to this worthy cause.  However, we trust others will also contribute monies to purchase this valuable piece of ambulance equipment.  If you are considering helping the Manitou Ambulance Board with this major expediture,  remember ~ as a friend once told me (when trying to convince me to donate blood), "the life you save might be your own!"

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