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Fire Captain Killed By Meningitis

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  • Fire Captain Killed By Meningitis

    Interesting article, even the medical calls can kill

    Friday, December 13, 2002
    Duty's crank call
    Death of firefighter finally gives family - and profession - its due


    It took two days for a fatal handshake from a grateful homeless person to kill Fire Capt. Alan Anketell but it took three years for his death to be recognized as in the line of duty.

    "This is important to me because it gives Alan the recognition he deserves," his widow Pam said yesterday after the findings of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board were released. "Alan loved his job and he ultimately gave his life for that job."

    Anketell, 45, was one month shy of 24 years on the job with the then city of Etobicoke in March 1999.

    The father of two was on a medical call when he took the deadly handshake from a man who has never been identified. The man had meningitis and within a day, Anketell fell ill.

    He died one day later.


    Pam Anketell said the victory at the board won't ease the pain of losing her husband.

    "This does not really provide any closure," she said. "A husband and a father is still gone.

    "The WSIB recognition will now provide some financial security. Alan would have provided far more for us than just money, but this will allow our children to continue to a higher education."

    She also thanked the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association, particularly Paul Atkinson and David Holwell, for arguing her case with the board.

    "Initially I was not pleased with the WSIB," she said. "I feel that WSIB did not have all the facts and was too quick to deny the claim."


    Now, however, she says she's satisfied with the board and its decision.

    It falls in line with several other cases in recent years which have expanded the definition of on-duty death to include firefighters who die from workplace-related sicknesses, particularly brain cancer.

    On Wednesday, firefighters mourned the loss of Toronto Fire Capt. Victor Ebbs, 58, who died from cancer after 34 years on the job. And in October, firefighter Kim Graham's name finally was added to the list of those who died on duty, eight years after his death from cancer in 1994.

    "Anytime some of these things are recognized as being related to the occupation itself, it's helpful to all firefighters," said Scott Marks, president of firefighters association.

    Recognition, however, still requires an often lengthy argument with the insurance board.

    "In almost all the cases, they immediately deny (claims)," Marks said. "It's very frustrating for us."

  • #2
    That is not only sad, but kind of frightening


    • #3
      my 1st medical call

      This reminds me of my 1st medical call. a 14 yr old girl acute respitory distress. Five minutes after I get home the Chief calls I have to shower bag all my clothing and then return to the station to wait out the girls blood work.
      Its about time the not so obvious dangers are being recognized.

      Stay safe
      Summerville Vol Fire Dept
      Pride In Service !


      • #4
        Medical Calls

        One of the first medical calls I had to deal with was for a guy with a severe nosebleed at his place of work. He was adamant that the ambulance had to take him to hospital. I remember thinking "What a waste of resources for a nosebleed" Next day I was informed that he had tuberculosis, but didn't want anyone at work to know about it, so he didn't admit to having any medical problems. We had to be tested and so did his co-workers, fortunately there were no ill effects that I know of.
        It was an eye-opening experience for me and it certainly made me much more aware of the possibility of infections and biohazards. My supervisor (and most of my co-workers) thought I was an alarmist when I started asking for Hepatitis vaccinations, but eventually they saw the light.


        • #5
          What's even scarier is the length of time it can take to notify the Fire and EMS crews that the patient was potentially or confirmed contagious. Ralph, do you remember that little incident in Hamilton about 18 months ago where they thought it was Ebola? It was a day or two before the EMS crew was notified....the vehicle that actually transported the patient just happened to be the same vehicle that was hosting a MOH review team the next day. Because the vehicle hadn't been decontaminated, they exposed at least 2 or 3 different crews, the MOH team,their respective families, plus every patient transported in that truck prior to being notified that they suspected the patient of having an Ebola type illness.
          The Ministry of Health team was livid to say the least, but did it change anything? Not likely.
          Last edited by LadyCapn; 12-29-2002, 09:58 PM.


          • #6
            Oh charming, stop LadyCapn your scaring me, now I need a rubber glove big enough to fit over my whole body!
            A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall


            • #7
              This is a late comment to this subject because I just joined but in reference to what ladycapt said, I was exposed to menengitis on a Thursday and didn't find out until the following Thursday night when I went back to shift. We were assured it must have been viral because it took so long to find out, but the next day we found it was bacterial, so we had been home exposed to our families for a week. Nothing bad happened though luckily. I went in the abulance to the hospital so I was frieked out. Communication between agencies is SO vital.


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