Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Patient confidentiality

An EMT comes on scene and there is a crowd forming. Is the patient a circus act? Or do you have certain responsibilities other than providing medical care to the patient?

This is a topic that grinds a nerve with me. I get a lot of heat at work because I don’t like other clients looking at a client that might have a medical illness or physical trauma. I also can’t stand it when other co-workers tell clients what is wrong with another client. If that person is not a family member or legal guardian then it’s none of their business.

As an EMT, you also have the responsibility to take care of that patient’s confidentiality and privacy. So how do EMT and Paramedics keep a patients confidentiality and privacy while providing medical care? Confidentiality deals with emergency care, patient history, and physical assessment and treatment. Therefore do not give out this information out to other than the legal guardian or family member of the patient.  Releasing confidential information requires a written release form signed by the patient or a legal guardian.

What if it’s a major accident and the press is all over the place? Do not speak to the press, your family, friends or other members of the public about the details of the emergency care. This can be really difficult to achieve. I have to catch myself at times. Sometimes I’ll have explained what a scene was like to a family member but in no way to I give the patients name or the location of the scene. 

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