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New medevac contract awarded

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 10, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - MedicNorth has been contracted by the government to handle medical evacuations (medevacs) in the Yellowknife and Inuvik areas.

For MedicNorth's president and CEO, Sean Ivens, everything has come full circle.

During the press conference Tuesday at the Air Tindi floatbase, Ivens talked about how his mother was medevaced from Inuvik when she was pregnant with him.

"This contract has always been kind of a dream to me," he said.

Kara Livy, MedicNorth's director of medevac operations, said that though they have enough staff for Yellowknife medevacs, they are hiring for the Inuvik region.

"We're looking for full-time staff in Inuvik," she said.

The company needs three medevac nurses in Inuvik, as well as casual ones to cover vacations and sick leave, she said.

Livy said she had a great person to learn from Pat O'Connor, owner of Medflight, the company that held the contract for more than 15 years

"Pat O'Connor (of Medflight) was my mentor," she said. "She has been the leader of medevacs in the North."

Livy said O'Connor's commitment to the community is commendable.

For the other groups that work with medevac - Air Tindi and the Yellowknife fire department - it's business as usual.

"Nothing's going to change for us," said Darcy Hernblad, deputy fire chief of operations.

He said the only difference will be working with new people.

"We're probably just as excited to work with them as Sean Ivens and his crew are to work with us," he said.

Peter Arychuk, vice-president of customer service with Air Tindi, seconded Hernblad's sentiments.

"It's really not going to change much," he said. "There's going to be some new faces."