Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Don't touch me EMT

It's not my goal to scare the EMT's and Paramedics that are reading this. In reality, I think that one of the toughest thing for someone who works in the EMS field is obtaining a directive that they don't like. The job is so geared at saving a persons life that when there is a legal document saying "NO!" it's like getting slapped in the face by a client.

Or if you are a family member of someone who is unresponsive but you know their wishes is to die peacefully. Or you are a member of a religion that does not allow resuscitation. An EMT and Paramedic will do everything they
can to respect your wishes but a person is going to receive
medical treatment if there is not a legal document present at
the scene of the accident or illness.

There are four different types of Advance Directives. They are:
  • DNR Order
  • A living will
  • A health care durable power of attorney
  • A physicians orders for life sustaining treatment
A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) is a legal document or order that covers resuscitation issues only. A DNR will not stop an EMT or Paramedic from providing other types of medical care in the event of trauma or illness.

A living will covers resuscitation and more general health care issues including the use of life support or not.

A Health care durable power of attorney. This is also known as a Health Care Proxy. This document legally allows someone to make medical decision for a Pt. If the Pt. is unable to make that decision for himself/Herself. Many hospitals or long term care facilities will have the Pt. sign this legal document so that decisions can be made on the Pt. behalf.

A Physicians orders for life sustaining treatment (POIST) is usually created if the Pt. is not expected to live more than a year. The legal document allows the Pt. to decide what level of care he wants to receive before resuscitation is needed.

There are times when a Pt or family member of the Pt will say that they have an advance directive but it is not present at that very moment. Until the Pt or family member produces that advance directive consider initiating treatment immediately.

Contact medical direction for instructions on how to proceed.
Continue treatment until the problem has been resolved
Be sure to communicate to the Pt all the risks that may come with not obtaining medical care.

For the EMT and Paramedic, it is important to follow local protocol to keep from obtaining legal action against you. For the patient, it's important to know what you rights are. Ultimately unless a patient can prove that he/she is oriented enough to answer the classic "Person, Place and Time" questions then local EMT and Paramedics will begin medical care.

No comments:

Post a Comment