My latest Hope Sze thriller, Graveyard Shift, was inspired by a local police officer who stopped a massive medication theft. But I needed both his and the police department’s permission to talk about that, and I didn’t know the officer’s last name.
Then this happened: “Oh, it’s Dr. Yuan-Innes!”
I ran into Constable Michael Ménard, who recognized me and said, “You’re one of our favourite doctors.”
Gosh. I shook his hand, thanked him for making my day (turns out that part of their criteria is “doctors who don’t make us wait around in the department forever”), and explained my dilemma about how to find one of his officers post-theft.
“Do you know the case number?”
“Do you know when this happened?”
I shook my head. I remembered that I’d been in the middle of writing Death Flight. I took notes and swore this would be my next book. But I didn’t date my notes.
“You could call the department and ask.”
Wouldn’t that seem kind of fishy?
I asked at the hospital, and Margo Flaro figured out the officer’s identity. I contacted him through social media, but I also asked Const. Ménard if he’d mind letting S know, because it can also feel off if a near-stranger contacts you through social media. By the way, Const. Ménard was recently cited for ten years of service (https://www.cornwallseawaynews.com/…/recognizing-service-a…/), and has won an award for teamwork (http://www.cornwallpolice.ca/…).
So now I can finally tell you that S, who appears in Graveyard Shift’s acknowledgements under only that initial, is actually Sgt. Scott Coulter!
You probably don’t know about that near-theft because he *prevented* it, after being alerted by the hospital security guards. Shout out to Nicole Spahich and other security guards, as well as all the police officers who keep us safe!
Massive thanks to The Review (https://thereview.ca/…/local-hero-inspires-new-thriller-gr…/) and the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder Content Works (https://www.standard-freeholder.com/…/yis-latest-thriller-i…) for reporting this. We need more positive coverage about good work.
I’m excited that Scott’s getting recognition from the Cornwall Police Service itself: http://www.cornwallpolice.ca/…/cps-officer-inspires-new-thr…
Thanks to CBC’s All in a Day for hosting us! https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/cornwall-drug-bust-inspires-new-crime-thriller-1.5356070
And @LetsGoCBC’s Richard King for reviewing Graveyard Shift.
Now some quick real talk. I didn’t blog about Graveyard Shift because I always figured I had time. I’d do it later.
Well, now we’re at the beginning of the Canadian COVID-19 pandemic. I have to work in the ER tomorrow. We’re an hour away from Ottawa, where public health has warned of community spread. I work in a tiny hospital with no CT, no portable chest X-ray, and bare minimum labs after hours.
Health care workers have more than 10 times the risk of catching COVID-19. We don’t exactly know why but assume it’s because we get exposed repeatedly over and over while exhausted and under-protected. American M.D.’s have to rewear their N95 masks post-intubation or have none at all, and we’ve learned of Italian doctors who died with no protective equipment, not even gloves.
So I started a petition two days ago that was immediately signed by 62 physicians and had the support of many more. We need to protect our workers NOW. Don’t wait until we run out of masks and gloves. Let’s go! This is the time for war-like measures. Our colleagues are dying around the world, and we have only a tiny window of time before it happens here.
“I hope we get to 1000 signatures in the morning,” said one of my new friends.
“I want thousands,” I replied. Dream big. You may not win, but you might as well try.
To my astonishment, http://change.org/COVID19frontline has hit 64,000 signatures as we speak. Dr. Carol Loffelmann and Dr. Michelle Cohen and I have spoken to the media. We’ve been in discussion with entrepreneurs, puzzling out how to get that equipment made.
This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government will work with existing manufacturers and may repurpose other industries in order to make PPE.
This is a crucial strategic move. Thank you.
However, I will relax more when we’ve covered everything in this petition. We want the PPE not only ordered but available to our front line workers, with masks and gloves accessible for the police and other essential services. We want to test patients properly and care for you with enough doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians, and other crucial personnel, using the correct medications and equipment. And we want everyone else to stay home and healthy.
So thank you, each and every one of you, for signing this petition and bringing us one step closer.
As Winston Churchill wrote, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”