​​​​PTSD is DONE to you, it does not DEFINE you...

Lisa's Story


I am one of those lucky people who can say that I have never worked a day in my life. I say this with pride after 25  years of service as a paramedic. I thought years back becoming a lawyer was my goal, but one night while riding with a paramedic crew in Calgary my destiny chose me.

After picking up one of our patients from a drive by shooting, he was full of bullet holes and was thrown out of a moving vehicle. I looked down at him and he was face up but his feet were facing down? His legs were like corkscrews? What the....? I thought out loud: How do I join up for this gig? The paramedic I was riding with that night smiled at me and said: “You are going to do well in the job.”

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Now,  one year later and I am in the psychiatric emergency centre. (PES) It was that one call that can take us out, and on June 15, 2014 this one was mine. I was on a call in a store and then BOOM my partner, the patient and I were physically, verbally and as a result psychologically assaulted by someone we least expected. THAT WAS THE CALL THAT CHANGED ME FOREVER! 

Does anyone else hear the screams, or smell the blood mixed with gasoline and burnt rubber? I can hardly breathe and my body hurts all over. What is wrong with me?  I am full of a new emotion.ANGER! I just want to die.

Third visit to PES and it has been months since the first mental breakdown. Yes, it turns out I have PTSD, a depressive mood disorder, and without treatment my brain will slowly rewire itself in an unhealthy way. WorkSafe BC (WSBC) is still deciding if I have a legitimate claim ???—a legitimate mental health injury (MHI)? If they don't accept it soon and get me into the appropriate treatment, I will have a harder time, if at all, to recover! the science has shown if "appropriate treatment - with a specialist" is provided within 3 months, the results show a full recovery of 90% or better!  I can go back to the job I love so much!!!


What? Don’t they get it? Don’t they know what I do? What I have seen. What I have heard and smelled over, and over, and over again for nearly half of my life! How dare they even question the validity of my claim? They know what happened on that call on June 15th. No support from my employer nor my union, my peers who were my friends, or so I thought want nothing to do with me. Abandonment…I lost my home, tried to rent, $906 from Income Assistance makes that impossible, so I lived in my car, thanks to a few friends and a paramedic or two, I managed 6 nights at a Motel. It felt like the most luxurious hotel ever....in fact, I was most at peace there....now I live in a transitional housing apartment building that is rampant with crime, drugs - I have been stabbed while quietly throwing out my compost; another day and had scalding hot soup thrown on my leg. Second degree burns because someone added left over chili to his soup, I was in the cross fire.  How did I end up living like this?  BC Housing says, no other place vacant..the housing crisis...there ARE first responders living on our streets!


A mini-trial, casual in a board room at a hotel. our time slot was for 1.5 hrs,  ended 4.5 hours later. The Vice Chair from WCAT, two employer representatives, my Workers Adviser. I had to retell, relive the most painful experience of my life.  The, the patient testified and almost verbatim, also had retell and relive her terrifying experience of medical negligence and violence, my partner was teleconferenced in and again,  it was almost word for word as the patient and my statement and at NO time did any of us discuss this event after it took place.  The next to testify was a retired and revered Supervisory Paramedic of 30 years who stated that these events would be considered agregious behaviour and would meet the standard of medical neglicance under the Paramedic Code of Ethics and Licensing Board. EVERYONE had tears in their eyes and when asked if my employers representatives needed any more time for submissions?  They were a little choked up and replied, "oh no, no submissions here.  We all KNEW it was in the bag.  

WRONG! Now we wait.....and wait.....and wait,,,,, delay....delay....need more time.....it is now October 2016 and I am left to write my own legal rebuttal to a psychologist, hired by WCAT who reviewed my medical reports and was given permission to speak to me but chose NOT TO ?????? He reported that "I have a long well documented psychiatric history" (two counseling sessions in 20 years, 1 for transitional issues and the second bereavement, with a counselor, no diagnosis, no medications. ) Oh, and I did have a lawyer but if you want to be involved or have half a brain, he will drop you in an abusive manner. So, I was left to my own devices to research case law, their own Practices, etc and write my 15 page rebuttal to this psychologists' subjective, unsubstantiated report.


While I am now suffering malnutrition, complete isolation, deep depression, fighting the urge to end my life because now....where do I see my future?  IF AND ONLY IF I WIN, how do I at the age of 52 begin to rebuild my life, find a new home, REFURNISH my home, save for retirement,  a career?  I am a paramedic in my heart and soul but will my mind let me return to my passion?  WHAT IF I LOSE?  OH MY GOD...WHAT IF I HAVE TO GO TO COURT AND APPEAL....AGAIN....

January 17, 2017. Will I be one of the 95% who still get denied?  It is at that time when suicide becomes a very real possibility because, no one at this point has any money to take them to court.    I WANT MY LIFE BACK!!

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