As heavy as my heart is this week following the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, I have never been so proud to be from Saskatchewan as I am right now.
In response to last week’s call for help, so many of you immediately put your lives on hold so that other lives could be saved. You and your health care teams showed us what is possible even under extreme adversity. You are highly skilled and extremely compassionate professionals. I continue to hear heartwarming stories of courage, leadership, sacrifice and acts of love across our province. It is truly a privilege to be part of your team.
So many physicians and health care providers from across the province were involved in the response to this tragedy. Family physicians, nurses and staff in Tisdale, Nipawin and Melfort were among the first to care for those involved in the collision. Flight doctors joined medics and nurses from the air ambulance community and ground ambulance services to support the local assessment, resuscitation and transport of the injured. Surgeons, anesthesiologists and radiologists, along with emergency and critical care physicians at Royal University Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, then attended to the injured, working tirelessly on interprofessional teams.
Lives were saved because of the skilled and coordinated response by all of us: first responders, physicians, nurses, therapists and so many other clinical and non-clinical staff involved in caring for the victims, families and friends of this terrible tragedy.
Many of you will continue to provide care to the injured and their families over the coming months. Others will provide mental health care to those suffering from anguish and distress, felt not only by the team and their families but also by the wider community of friends, classmates, teachers and so many more.
Throughout this last week, I have been struck by how connected we are as a community and province, whether it’s through our family roots, our hometowns, the age of our children or our connection to the hockey community.
What has also resonated with me is how well our health system worked in response to a tragedy. We were prepared. We rose to the challenge. We demonstrated compassion, empathy and understanding. We were supported by administrative leaders who also went above and beyond their ordinary duties. It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside our physicians and system leaders who are working so hard to ensure that any barriers to excellent clinical care are identified and removed.
Like many of you, I will be processing this tragedy for a very long time. Trying to understand what happened and healing will not be easy. At times like these, it’s important to remember that our own health and well-being as physicians is just as important as the patients we serve. We must be prepared to take care of each other and ourselves both now and in the future.
If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your families, friends, colleagues, spiritual leaders, health care professionals, community and professional supports, including:
For more information on additional support services available and ways to help, visit
It’s important for us to take care of each other as well as we take care of our patients, families and communities. What I ask of you this week: reach out to your colleagues. Check in. Create space. Listen. Be there.
And, as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with comments, questions and concerns at
Dr. Susan Shaw
Chief Medical Officer