Video of Sheshashiu paramedic prompts internal review, family wants apology

A paramedic who works for Labrador-Grenfell Health is no longer welcome in Sheshatshiu after a widely-shared Facebook video that shows 33 seconds of a visit to an Innu home.

Mother of sick toddler says paramedic behaved like 'policeman' when called to home

April Pone, right, with her sister Monique (middle), and mother Josie (left). Pone says her daughter was sick for four days before she called an ambulance (Bailey White/CBC)

A paramedic who works for Labrador-Grenfell Health is no longer welcome in Sheshatshiu after a widely-shared Facebook video raised questions about his conduct during an interaction with an Innu family.

The video shows April Pone sitting on a couch with her daughter, Edalina, 2, and her nephew.

Pone said she called an ambulance for Edalina on Wednesday, Aug. 16, after the girl had been sick for four days and visited the hospital twice.

That's his job, he's supposed to help.- Monique Pone

The 33-second video, which had been shared on Facebook more than 2,500 times in the week following, shows the paramedic in a curt conversation with Pone.  

"All right, well let's go. Let's get her ready, bring her up," he says.

"Do you always treat people like that?" Pone replies.

"Well I mean, you have a van outside, the clinic's open all day," he says.

Toddler sick for days

Pone said the paramedic was acting "like a policeman" and telling her what she ought to do instead of helping.

She said he wanted to know why she called an ambulance instead of taking her daughter to the local clinic or driving to the hospital in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

"By that time, the clinic was also closed," she said.

Edalina first got sick on Saturday, Pone said. Her eyes were red and swollen, she had a fever and was throwing up.

Pone said doctors told her to keep an eye on the toddler, and to come back if she got worse. She said calling an ambulance to take her daughter to the hospital was the best bet, because she doesn't own a car.

This video of one paramedic's interaction with a Labrador family has prompted ire online, and a call for an apology. 0:35

In the video, the paramedic asks about a van parked outside, which Pone said belongs to her mother, who arrived after the ambulance was called.

"If I had a van or a vehicle, I wouldn't be needing them," she said.

Pone's sister, Monique Pone, witnessed the conversation with the paramedic but she is not seen in the video. She said Edalina's condition deteriorated and so calling an ambulance made sense.

"She got worse that evening, she was throwing up and had a fever. All kind of mothers would be worried," she said.

"That's his job, he's supposed to help."

A week after the video was taken, Pone said Edalina is feeling better. She was diagnosed with an infection and is being treated with antibiotics. 

Under review 

Eugene Hart, the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation band council chief said the paramedic is no longer welcome in the community.

Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation band council chief Eugene Hart says the Pone family is owed an apology. (Bailey White/CBC)

"I don't treat people like that, and I don't expect people from outside to come in and to talk to my people like that," Hart said.

"I think the parents are owed an apology."

In an email, a spokesperson for Labrador-Grenfell Health said a review was launched "immediately" after authorities learned about the video.

"Labrador-Grenfell Health has had dialogue with the Sheshatshiu Innu Band Council and advises that upon completion of the Health Authority review, it will take action if and as appropriate."

The Sheshatshiu band council chief says a paramedic is not welcome in his community after a controversial video circulated on Facebook last week. Labrador Grenfell Health says it's reviewing the incident. 12:11