Hamilton

Medic says partner vented after anguished father of dead teen yelled at him, trial hears

Steven Snively says he wanted to support his partner, Christopher Marchant, after he was yelled at by an anguished father who had lost his eldest son. 

Paramedics were pulled off call the next day to finish paperwork

Yosif Al-Hasnawi, 19, was shot and killed in Hamilton on Dec. 2, 2017. (Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre)

Steven Snively says he wanted to support his partner, Christopher Marchant, after he was yelled at by an anguished father who had just lost his eldest son. 

Footage from St. Joseph's Hospital on Dec. 2, 2017 shows the two former paramedics standing near the double doors of the emergency room, where they recently had wheeled a stretcher holding gunshot victim Yosif Al-Hasnawi into the care of physicians.

Snively said Marchant had been venting to him after the teen's father learned his son had died, and yelled at him. Snively was allowing the paramedic to "get it off his chest" and "let it out."

"I allowed him to express himself," he said of their conversation, though he couldn't remember the exact details. 

"I believe at that time I was trying to provide him some support," he said, and added that he had sympathy for Al-Hasnawi's father. 

Snively, 55, and Marchant, 32, are on trial for failing to properly care for the 19-year-old, who was shot and died that night. 

The paramedics thought Al-Hasnawi's wound was from a BB or pellet gun, the court has heard, and it took them 23 minutes to leave the scene at Main and Sanford in Hamilton's lower city for St. Joseph's Hospital.

But Al-Hasnawi had been shot with a hollow-point bullet from a .22-caliber handgun at 8:55 p.m. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's Hospital at 9:58 p.m. 

The two paramedics are charged with failing to provide him the necessaries of life.

Unaware that report was delayed, says medic

Crown Scott Patterson asked if Snively considered Marchant a friend. They were into their second year of partnership at the Hamilton Paramedic Service. 

"He was a colleague. I didn't know him that long, that's the extent of it," Snively said. 

Snively, who has more than a decade of experience as a paramedic, said he wasn't a mentor for Marchant and believes that each paramedic brings a different skill set to the table. 

Snively also told the court he didn't know Marchant neglected to submit their ambulance call report that night. His partner didn't mention it to him, he testified. 

Snively helped with the report by gathering a list of times leading up to Al-Hasnawi's death, such as when the ambulance pulled into the hospital parking lot.

He gave this information to Marchant, who was filling out the document on a laptop, before reviewing and signing off on it. 

Snively said Al-Hasnawi's death left him devastated, and he confirmed to the Crown that he made at least one major mistake that night. 

The court has heard the paramedics thought Al-Hasnawi was experiencing a psychiatric or behavioural issue. But the teen died with two litres of blood in his abdominal cavity. 

Patterson said the report seemed to be missing details, despite Snively having completed "maybe thousands" of reports before. 

The report listed soft tissue/penetrating trauma as the primary problem despite the paramedics' testimony of a psychiatric issue. It left out any mention about palpating the teen's abdomen, though both paramedics said they did. 

"We did it. I did it. Just didn't document," Snively said. 

It also didn't include that Al-Hasnawi was restrained in the back of the ambulance. 

Pulled from shift

Marchant submitted the report on Dec. 3, 2017. Snively said he saw it next on Dec. 15, and it didn't seem to have changed. 

Both paramedics reported for work the next day. Snively and Marchant were waiting to transfer a patient to an open hospital bed when they were replaced by a crew and pulled off the call to file separate incident reports. 

Snively said he hadn't heard the media at this point refer to Al-Hasnawi as "The Good Samaritan" nor did he talk about the situation to anyone at work. 

The night he was shot, Al-Hasnawi and his friends saw two people accosting an older man. He intervened, was punched, and chased after the pair. Then he was shot.

Snively has previously testified that he was the one to dismiss firefighters from the scene. He thought he and Marchant could handle the situation. But when his patient died, he said, he was in disbelief. 

He was asked on Wednesday about how common it was to need firefighter assistance to put patients on a stretcher and to help en route to hospital. 

Snively replied in the "single digits" and "low single digits."

When Marchant testified, he described Al-Hasnawi as "uncooperative" and said he thought the teen was having a psychiatric emergency. He told the court he feels partly responsible for his death, though he doesn't blame himself for it. 

The trial will be decided by Justice Harrison Arrell alone. It started at the John Sopinka Courthouse in Hamilton on Nov. 24 and is continuing online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Crown attorneys are Scott Patterson and Linda Shin. 

Defence attorneys are Jeffrey Manishen of Hamilton, who represents Marchant, and Michael DelGobbo of St. Catharines, who represents Snively. 

The person who shot Al-Hasnawi, Dale King, was acquitted last year of second-degree murder. That case is being appealed.

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