Recently, a large EMS organization disciplined almost 50 employees for issues surrounding documentation of electronic patient care reports (ePCRs). This equated to about 10% of the organization’s providers. Not only did the management team penalize the care providers who wrote the reports, but the care providers’ supervisors as well.
Medical errors can lead to harm to the patient and liability to the EMS agency and the individual EMS care provider. Most states provide some form of “qualified immunities” for the individual EMT or paramedic in the event that errors occur. Typically, to prove negligence against the individual EMT or paramedic, the plaintiff must show there was “gross negligence” by the care provider. Gross negligence is more than just a mistake; it borders on intentional misconduct or disregard for the patient.
A New Level of Compassion
While writing this month’s column, I reminisced about how lucky I was to grow up in a public safety family. Whether you’re raised in an EMS, fire, law enforcement or communications environment, you become a part of that family.
Medic: Please place your hand, the one not holding your inhaler, on the book of Life-Saving Protocols while raising your other hand above your home O2 tank. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help your HMO? Defendant: Huh? What the…
THE RESEARCH Newgard CD, Staudenmayer K, Hsia RY, et al. The cost of overtriage: More than one-third of low-risk injured patients were taken to major trauma centers. Health Aff. 2013;32(9)1591–1599.
Amid consumption of some delicious libations after the sessions at February’s EMS Today Conference and Exposition, some EMS system leaders and I starting talking about the new generation that’s entered the EMS workforce.
Imagine going on multiple calls with limited dispatch information. When you arrive at the scene and approach the family to obtain important incident history, mechanism of injury or patient information, you’re told rather bluntly, “We already gave that information to your dispatcher. We’re not repeating it to you!”
Do you remember what it felt like to receive that letter in the mail, with your certificate and shoulder patch, after passing your first EMT class? Or how you felt the day you were issued your first helmet and company insignia? I sure do. I donned my first officer’s helmet like it was a piece of fine china and constantly looked at myself in the mirror to see how I looked.
You’re called to the scene of a medical emergency at a patient’s residence. As you enter the home, you find a patient with an altered level of consciousness on the couch in the living room. On the table next to the couch you find what appears to be illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. What are your obligations under the law? Must you report the suspected illegal drug activity to the police? Can you report it?