LiabilityQuestion

Abandonment Question

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I recently got my EMT cert, and while I do not work in EMS officially, I do work as a University Security Officer. Due to this, I am often responding to medical calls before the medics arrive on campus. Usual protocol is for us to assess the situation and take vitals/BLS if needed, but leave the patient to guide in the ambulance and bring the medics to the patient once they arrive on campus. I am wondering what liability I am in once I start treating a patient if I leave them to guide in the medics? Would this be considered abandonment if I get permission from the patient to leave? 

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ok so what you are asking is that you want to know that if you leave a patient you have already been treating and let them guide the ambulance in?  is that what you are asking?  

Once you have assumed care (having been called by security dispatch to respond) and then you leave that patient on their own to guide the ambulance crew in, I think brings up a whole plethora of issues.  

1.  you are making sure that you are practicing inside your scope right?  

2.  You have assumed care for the patient as an EMT/security officer correct - then you have established a patient care relationship and you should not leave. 

3.  You should be directing others on the scene (if any) to go meet the ambulance,  leaving to go guide the EMS in, is leaving the patient.  That could construe that this is abandonment.  

4.  What would happen if the patient crashes while you are guiding in EMS?  

 

My advice, once you have established patient contact, you should not leave the patient.  EMS are smart cookies, they should be able to find you just fine.  

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Thanks for the response! I will be limiting my care to BLS and basic first aid as I won't be operating under any direction. Your answer was exactly what I was looking for and pretty much what I was expecting. Although the campus is fairly large and confusing, I will make sure to stay with the patient and have dispatch give directions/get a bystander to lead EMS in.

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We cannot help you.

Are you there as security or are you there as EMS?  Is this a written protocol that you initiate care or is it just understood that it's something you do?  Is it a requirement of your security position that you be an EMT and provide BLS level interventions?  You say you won't be operating under any direction.  Does this mean you're not there as part of an official BLS response and have no medical director to whom you would answer?  There are too many questions here without any answers.

From what you've written so far it doesn't sound like you're there as an EMS provider.  You admit you have no direction implying no medical direction.  It could reasonably be argued that under your current situation, as you have explained it here, you have no obligation to do anything short of immediate life threatening interventions that would be expected of any bystander (e.g. CPR).  That being said nobody here knows anything more about your situation.  Nobody knows where you are.  Nobody knows the legal requirements of where you are.  Nobody here can answer your question.

You have a legal question.  Go ask the legal minds under retainer by the university for whom you work.  You cannot reasonably take anything offered by any possible response here to be applicable to your situation short of "go talk to your employer/attorney".  Do not rely on anonymous internet responses to an anonymous internet question about how you should apply yourself to any situation with potential legal ramifications.  That's a sure fire way for you to get into trouble.

How do you respond in your situation?  Will you be abandoning a "patient"?  Good questions.  Go ask your employer and/or employers attorney.  Get the best answer for yourself right from the legal folks to whom you will answer should something go wrong.

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I am there as a security officer but responding to medical calls and providing first aid/BLS is written into protocol (most officers are EMR certified). It is not a requirement of my position to act as an EMT, my question was only in regards to the fact that I coincidentally am an EMT who will be responding to medical calls. I'm not trying to perform any special care, other than preliminary care while waiting for EMS so I believe I should be legally sound in regards to acting without medical direction. I am assuming my care for the patient as similar to if I stopped on the side of the road for a vehicle accident, which I was told can result in abandonment charges if the patient is left with someone who has lesser medical training. I believe as  long as I am not leaving the patient as Ruff noted, I should be fine, but I will contact the University's legal department to double check with them.

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almost always I say "contact your employer" or some other disclaimer and this time I did not.  That should have been my first response but also I would have written what I did.  

Your best response and answer would be the answer that your employer gives you.

Methinks that your employer will come back and tell you to render immediate life saving care but go no further.  I don't relish to be in your shoes.  

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On 9/18/2017 at 9:43 AM, Just Plain Ruff said:

ok so what you are asking is that you want to know that if you leave a patient you have already been treating and let them guide the ambulance in?  is that what you are asking?  

Once you have assumed care (having been called by security dispatch to respond) and then you leave that patient on their own to guide the ambulance crew in, I think brings up a whole plethora of issues.  

1.  you are making sure that you are practicing inside your scope right?  

2.  You have assumed care for the patient as an EMT/security officer correct - then you have established a patient care relationship and you should not leave. 

3.  You should be directing others on the scene (if any) to go meet the ambulance,  leaving to go guide the EMS in, is leaving the patient.  That could construe that this is abandonment.  

4.  What would happen if the patient crashes while you are guiding in EMS?  

 

My advice, once you have established patient contact, you should not leave the patient.  EMS are smart cookies, they should be able to find you just fine.  

That was well-put, good job!

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