Wednesday, April 20, 2016

As an EMT am I legally unprotected?

Legally, being an EMT can be a scary job. Was the patient hurt by our actions? Did we do all the right things? Thankfully there are things that an EMT or Paramedic can do to protect themselves during transport and transfer situations.

Do not bypass a medical facility that is able to treat the patient, unless directed by medical direction, patient or predetermined protocol. Our patients are taken to the local hospital because they are the best in emergency medicine. Sometimes I questioned that because there is actually a hospital closer. I decided to sit down and discuss it with a fellow EMT that works transport.  It seems that this particular hospital deals with a lot of cases due to the COBRA laws.

Another way to protect you as a medical professional is to get a full and clear report about the patient’s condition. Not only will this allow you to provide the best medical treatment but you will also be able to pass this information onto the receiving medical facility.

Be sure that you are able to provide the level of care necessary during the transport and it is within your scope of education. Call for Advance Life Support if you are unable to provide the level of care necessary to the patient.
  • Obtain the informed consent form signed by the patient or legal guardian
  • Obtain the written certification of transfer that includes the transferring physicians name and address, facility receiving the patient and the reason for the transfer.
  • Know where you are going and take the quickest possible route.

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