Lions Gate Hospital emergency department physician Alec Ritchie and registered nurse Kayla Brolly, feature prominently in the documentary series on the Knowledge Network, Search and Rescue: North Shore.
Kayla Brolly and Alec Ritchie have spent years quietly volunteering and providing their medical expertise to the busiest search and rescue team in the country. A new television documentary about the North Shore Rescue (NSR) organization puts the two Lions Gate Hospital employees and their entire team in the spotlight.
Recently, Search and Rescue: North Shore made its debut on the Knowledge Network, with Kayla, a registered nurse in the emergency department and Alec, a physician in the same department, playing a central role in the gripping documentary.
The five-part series follows the volunteer members of the rescue team as they set off to rescue people in the rugged wilderness of the North Shore. The remaining episodes air on Tuesdays.
Kayla, who's watched the rough cut of all the episodes, said she's impressed with the production and the crew behind the show.
“What I'm really pleased with is it's an actual depiction of us," she said. “This isn't reality TV. It's a documentary, and the crew were respectful of accurately representing what the [rescue] calls mean to us."
Many of those calls featured in the series include NSR's advanced medical provider (AMP) team. Several Lions Gate Hospital staff, including Kayla and Alec, are part of the 10-person medical team. While medical rescues feature prominently in the show, Alec pointed out only about 30 per cent of calls are medical in nature. And only another third of those calls require advanced medical care.
“I think those calls, they're interesting and really highlight what's going on," but he also added the team is involved in a variety of calls that don't involve medical care.
Though the show is meant to be entertaining, both team members hope the series will have an impact on the general public.
“I hope people who watch it learn from it, and at the end of the day it will mean less calls for North Shore Recue because people can learn by others mistakes," Alec said.
Kayla added the show offers a number of “teachable moments" and how being prepared can help in certain situations. She also hopes other rescue teams around the country consider creating their own AMP team.
“That AMP program is the only one like it in the country," she said. “It might actually inform people of what we've built here on the North Shore and encourage others to look at doing a program like that in their own community. We're so gifted at Lions Gate [emergency department] to have so many wonderful nurses and physicians that do outdoor pursuits and can do this kind of work."
But a brief turn in the spotlight hasn't changed the pair. Kayla said she didn't even mention the show to her colleagues until it was about to air.
“I think my colleagues were a bit surprised it was coming and when they knew it was coming, it was time to make fun of us," she joked.
The pair aren't interested in focusing all attention on themselves, and are quick to praise their teammates.
“It makes me so happy to see our group do such good work and help people in these really difficult circumstances," Kayla said.
While Alec added, “I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a team. I'm in awe in my teammates."
To learn more about Kayla, Alec and the team, click on this VCH News story from the summer. You can also watch the new series online at www.knowledge.ca/sarns.