A former Ornge flight paramedic from Temiskaming Shores has come forward to say he quit his job in 2009 because he felt patient care was put in jeopardy.
Trevor Kidd was based in northwestern Ontario when he finally gave his notice. He said there were ongoing issues with staffing numbers and the amount of helicopters available to transfer patients. But the final straw for him was when a teenage girl died.
"The lack of staffing and not sending any aircraft in a timely manner to this call, I just found [it] unconscionable," he said.
Kidd, the son of Temiskaming Shores Mayor Carman Kidd, added there were things going on within Ornge that he felt were wrong.
"We knew that a lot of money that was supposed to be going to patient care was going to … perks for the execs," he said. "I knew that vice president Rhoda Beecher's daughter had been hired to a position that I felt she was not qualified to be in."
Carman Kidd reportedly talked to former Liberal MPP David Ramsay in 2009 and other officials in the Health Ministry about the problems at Ornge.
Front-line workers leaving
Ornge, which is under a criminal investigation, has been rocked for months by allegations about questionable business deals, high executive salaries and whether public money was used for personal gain.
Auditor general Jim McCarter has criticized the government for failing to oversee Ornge, despite giving it $730 million over five years and allowing it to borrow another $300 million.
Kidd told a legislative committee earlier this week that he quit Ornge in disgust after the death of the northwestern Ontario teen. He said if the girl had any hope of survival, Ornge "robbed" her of that chance by not properly staffing its aircraft or sending them in a timely manner.
Kidd said front-line workers at Ornge are leaving "in droves" because they're unhappy with how Ornge is run.
His testimony came in the wake of confidential documents showing the government investigated 26 deaths and 145 incidents involving Ornge since 2007. Forty of the investigations were opened this year, after the government installed new leadership at Ornge.
In some cases, Ornge wasn't able to respond to calls because there were no paramedics on duty.
"It had become very clear to me that there [were] a lot of things going on there that were inappropriate and I would consider corrupt," Kidd said.
Kidd added if the government provides real whistleblower protection to Ornge employees, they will come forward without fear of retribution.