Refusal for Blood Draw

  1. We had a pt come in about a week ago who had been involved in an MVC. The pt was awake and oriented. The cops told us to draw blood for their kit but the pt refused to have their blood drawn. The cops told us if we didn't draw it they would charge use with obstruction of justice. Does anyone know how to approach this situation or what the correct couse of action would be? Thanks.
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   UM Review RN
    I think in a case like that, you'd need to involve your Supervisor and see what hospital policy says.
  4. by   hogan4736
    patients' rights trump cops' egos...

    the cop has no idea what he's talking about...

    any DA would laugh at that arrest...

    next time that cop comes in for twisting his ankle, give him well deserved lobby time in triage

    in many police departments, the cops draw the blood...
    Last edit by hogan4736 on Jan 6, '07
  5. by   bethin
    Something similar happened in our hospital. The police had to get a court order to draw blood. The guy reeked of ETOH though.

    You don't state what the circumstances were behind the MVC. Was anyone else involved? Did the pt seem impaired?
  6. by   jojotoo
    In my ER, we only do a "legal blood draw" if the patient in custody signs consent. We would never do it against someone's will as that would constitute battery.

    Usually, we have a very good relationship with the local PD. But every once in a while, we get an officer with attitude or with his head up his you know where. In those cases, we just make a quick call to the station's watch commmander and things are usually straightened out pretty quickly.
  7. by   Jennifer, RN
    In my ER, we have to obtain pt consent prior to drawing a BAL. We cannot draw a legal BAL on unconscious pt. The state I live in also immediately charges a person with DUI if refusing to consent for breathalizer or BAL.
  8. by   SarasotaRN2b
    Any person who watches Law and Order know that in order to do a test that a patient refuses requires a court order. I'd rather get hauled in for obstruction of justice than assault.
  9. by   Noryn
    I too was always under the impression that the pt had to consent for the test before you could do it unless there was a court order. In that situation, definitely contact the nursing supervisor and let the big wigs handle it. In the future I would speak with the hospital lawyer or someone in risk management and attempt to get a written policy.

    I always attempted to show professional courtesy to police when they brought someone in that needed a etoh level however if it got to the point where they were demanding that we breach our nursing ethics or threatented us I wouldnt have a problem letting them wait all night in triage. Unless I am mistaken, a random etoh level falls pretty low on the triage classification. I would also check with your state BON, I dont think I can just draw blood on someone in my state without a doctor's order.
  10. by   JBudd
    Usually if they are in the ER, its because they failed the field test. The cop usually knows if he is going to need a court order for the draw, and has a sargeant working on it. Our PD is really good about things like that.

    If the patient refuses, you have to have a court order, otherwise it is battery. Obstruction? thats a laugh, upholding justice is more like it.
  11. by   Altra
    Quote from hogan4736
    patients' rights trump cops' egos...

    the cop has no idea what he's talking about...

    any DA would laugh at that arrest...

    next time that cop comes in for twisting his ankle, give him well deserved lobby time in triage
    I have to disagree here ... the situation depends on the laws of the particular state. In my state, a refusal to allow a legal blood draw when the officer suspects impairment is the same as a guilty plea. In other words, yes, you can refuse to allow the blood draw, but the case then proceeds as though you've pled guilty. This is explained to offenders as part of the arrest.
  12. by   hogan4736
    Quote from MLOS
    I have to disagree here ... the situation depends on the laws of the particular state. In my state, a refusal to allow a legal blood draw when the officer suspects impairment is the same as a guilty plea. In other words, yes, you can refuse to allow the blood draw, but the case then proceeds as though you've pled guilty. This is explained to offenders as part of the arrest.
    clarification:

    the DA would laugh at the cop for charging the nurse for obstruction...
  13. by   Huscarl73
    Even if they did show up with a warrent for a blood draw you still wouldn't have any obligation to do it. The burden would be upon the state to supply the where and how not upon you to do it for them.
  14. by   Altra
    Quote from hogan4736
    clarification:

    the DA would laugh at the cop for charging the nurse for obstruction...
    OK, I think I misread the original post ... I read it to mean that the cop was leaning on the offender, not the nurse. I've re-read the OP, and it's possible that what happened (or what the OP interpreted) is that the officer was insisting that the nurse draw the blood despite the objection of the pt. Which I wouldn't do, without a court order.

    Fortunately the laws in my state make this a moot point.

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