Medevac rally in Grand Manan highlights community need

(Submitted photo) Grand Manan residents rallied last Friday in support of an on-island medevac.

GRAND MANAN – Grand Mananers turned out Friday to show their support for an on-island medevac service.

Atlantic Charters, which had operated the service until new pilot fatigue rules came into effect in 2023, has been unable to provide the service due to staffing constraints.

Mayor Bonnie Morse and several councillors attended the rally.

“What it really shows is the community’s commitment and support and how they value the importance of having an island-based medevac service,” said Morse.

Resident Tatum Worthen organized the rally after her mother, Lorraine, suffered a stroke and was unable to be flown off the island in time to receive a clot-dissolving drug that would have aided her recovery.

In a May 1 email, Sean Hatchard, communications officer with the Department of Health, said negotiations were ongoing and “all previously communicated plans to ensure safe evacuation by air from Grand Manan remain in place.”

The department stood by its stance in an email Hatchard sent May 23.

“The Government of New Brunswick recognizes the importance of having sustainable medevac services for residents of Grand Manan.”

The email said the department could not comment on specific cases and repeated the statement that plans are in place for safe evacuation from the island.

“Stroke, in particular, has always been the worst-case scenario, because it is so time-sensitive, and certainly there are other medical emergencies that could fit into that same category. I think for all of us it was a reminder of how precarious the situation truly is,” said Morse.