You never know what to expect on street outreach. Some days are uneventful; others are not.
One chilly Sunday afternoon early in April our team crossed Dalhousie Street at Rideau. There in front of a popular cafe, amidst the hustle and bustle of shoppers, lay a big man.
No one else seemed to notice him.
It was disturbing to see someone seemingly asleep like this, especially for our two new team members. We knew he was in very bad shape. Under-dressed, unconscious and helpless on the cold floor of our concrete jungle, we weren’t sure of the cause.
However, our team leader took charge and tried to wake him, as OIM has trained us to do. With few signs of life, his first thought was that the man had over-dosed and was dying. To administer Naloxone or not?
Weighing the odds, our quick thinker dialed 911 for medical assistance. Coincidentally a police cruiser stopped at the intersection and was approached by another member of our team.
The police promptly took over, checked the prostrate young man for vital signs and called for an ambulance.
Once the man was in the ambulance, when asked, one of the paramedics said Naloxone was not warranted in this situation as an (opioid) overdose did not seem to be the issue. We were thankful for their timely response and expert care.
Just as the ambulance arrived, a fire truck pulled up to offer assistance and another could be heard approaching rapidly.
All of this happened within ten minutes. Needless to say, we were impressed with our Ottawa emergency services and thankful that our friend had been well taken care of so quickly.
-Peter, Street Outreach Volunteer
This story is part of A Special Series this month in honour of OIM’s 30th Anniversary. We hope to raise awareness, challenge misconceptions, and honestly reflect the lives of those who call the streets their home. As you reflect on these stories, please take a moment to PRAY EACH DAY – just 30 seconds – for our ministry’s needs including a permanent location for our OIM Office as of Aug 1 .
Thanks and God Bless.