“Denver Health Paramedics face unique challenges in responding to the COVID-19 global pandemic and now historic civil rights protests and demonstrations,” officials with the Denver Health Workers United Paramedics Caucus (DHWU) stated.
Between Thursday and Sunday, Denver Health Paramedics treated 54 people on scene at protests and took another 57 to the hospital. That includes three Denver police officers and a civilian, who were hit by a driver Saturday night.
“Given the hazardous and volatile environment for the Denver Health Paramedics, including damage to several ambulances and troubling social media posts suggesting that our ambulances are ‘Trojan Horses’ for law enforcement, we are now responding to medical calls in full body armor,” DHWU officials stated.
Throughout each night of protesting, the first repsonders wore ballistic vests and helmets, as well as gas masks.
“Paramedics urge the public to use restraint toward frontline healthcare responders at public demonstrations,” representatives said. “In the context of civil unrest, the DHWU Paramedics embrace the principles of medical neutrality, and we remain committed to providing level one care for all.”
“We are there for them, we are supportive of their First Amendment rights and we stand by them in that sense and want to be there to help them,” Lt. Jake McCaig, a supervisor with the Denver Health Paramedic Division, told CBS4.
The DHWU is now calling on Denver Health Executives to “immediately implement fair and equitable compensation practices for its frontline workers who continue to put their lives at risk every day.”