Accident Scenes: Do You Always Offer Assistance? - page 2
Had an interesting experience when I took my sister and BIL to Portland International this morning: as I was pulling into the terminal, we saw a woman lying on the ground with several people standing... Read More
Jun 25, '04I was driving on a lonely country road years ago. When l drove around a corner there was a car on it's roof in the middle of he road. I stopped as nobody else was there. Thank gawd the driver was ok, just a bit shaken up.
Jun 25, '04Being from a small town I don't usually see many serious accidents so I don't have to worry about making a decision to stop or not. However, I was on my way to work a little over a year ago and came upon a very bad accident . It was so foggy I could barely see the Ambulance on the side of the road, I did see the vehicles involved in the wreck and knew that it was bad. Something inside me told me not to stop, that EMS was there and to just keep going, there was probably nothing that I could do to help anyway. So I went on to work but had a very sad eerie feeling all day. To make a long story short, the victim of the accident was a good friend of mine and she did not make it. It was very tragic and sad and I am so thankful that I did not stop that day b/c that image would have haunted me the rest of my life. Because of that I don't know if I will ever stop to assist someone.
Jun 25, '04Like with others only if no rescue team on-site is when I would stop especially if the accident just instantly happened. One time I heard a loud bang while outside my home...I immediately went to the scene and saw a disoriented guy walking to nowhere with blood gushing down his temple...I saw people trying to ask him if he's okay...It was an instinct for me to just ordered him to sit down....Than I checked out the other driver who was totally unconscious...It appeared to be a head-on collusion. I phone 911 but there was not much to do except apply pressure to stop the blood. Scary situation because of the unknown that the person may carry. Another situation happened when I was in a 5pm traffic hour, I notice a bunch of people surrounding a car and it looked like a dog underneath the car...that didn't want to come out...it was biting in all directions as people tried to use anything they could think of to chase the dog out. As my car neared to the scene I just rolled my window down and yelled, "That dog aint coming out because everyone is blocking it's exit!" As I passed I saw everyone go to one side, and a few seconds the dog came out. The dog didn't get hit. The traffic had cars stopped and the dog went under the car for shade. It was just another instinct of common sense.
Jun 25, '04A couple of years ago my husband and I along with three other couples were sitting on a river bank just soaking up sun and watching people go by in their canoes. A man in a canoe pulled up on the bank and asked if anyone there was a nurse. I never let it be known I'm a nurse in public for obvious reasons. But of course every one I was with immediately started pointing to me and said "she is!" I cringed and wondered what he needed. He had somehow got a fish hook caught in his upper arm and it was all the way through his skin. He wanted to know if I would take it out. The first thing that went through my mind was 'lawsuit' . I told him the get out point was about a 1/2 mile up the river and then he needed to go to the local ER. After he paddles away all my friends were all over me for not helping him, they thought I was awful! I explained my thinking, as lay people usually don't think in the same terms as medical people. They still thought I should have helped him. When I went to work that Monday I took a poll of all the nurses I worked with (about twelve) and only one said they would have taken the fish hook out. And that one would because she lived in the country, spent a lot of time hunting and fishing and had taken fish hooks out before. How about it? Would any of you taken it out?
Jun 25, '04Our hospital has covered us in the event that we come across an accident to not do mouth to mouth. This is following the death of a nurse who contracted meningitis and died. Would I help out?. Like many of you I think it would depend on the circumstances. I would certaintly be wary of a lawsuit yet I would want someone to stop and help me or my children if they became ill. So I guess on that basis yes I would stop. Are we obliged to declare our profession at the scene or not, can anyone tell me?
Jun 25, '04When I became a Paramedic, the dept. that I worked for also provided volunteer first responder service for the area. The medics were issued bags with standard equipment and a few ALS supplies, and our medical direction covered us as first responders, so I was usually able to get some treatment going on scene before the ambulance arrived if I saw a wreck.
Where I recently lived, and where I worked as a PA in the ED, I was also involved with EMS, so I did usually stop if it looked bad and it was in our service area. I carried some things in a bag that I kept in my car that I used and which the other medics did not use- I would just carry the bag with me if I ever got a shift on the ambulance of helicopter. However, one time I stopped at a wreck that the medics were already at, and I forgot it. I ended up doing a thoracostomy with a 9.0 mm ET tube and some duct tape on the way to the hospital. It was PURE magic- I even have some pictures.
One time, however, I was oustide of Houston and happened on a really bad wreck. Since I was not a member of the responding EMS nor did the supervisory agreement with my physician as a PA cover my practice there, all I could do was essentially try to give comfort. But I think that me telling the lady that "I'm a paramedic and the ambulance will be here soon" hopefully made her feel a little better. Sometimes, even with the best skills and technology, all we can do is try to comfort people. Even though we can't do what we could do, sometimes just doing SOMETHING can provide people with peace of mind.
Jun 25, '04I was told in my CPR class that as a "professional rescuer" I am obligated to help. Is this true? Could I actually get in "trouble" for not helping at a scene?
Jun 25, '04Being a medic and a nurse I will stop if no emergency service is there. If the police are on scene I will identify myself and offer to assist- most times they decline.
Having said that what we ran in to more often than not was people who didnt do that.
If one is going to stop one also needs to know when not to stop.
I cant tell you how many times Drs stop and offer to help. Its to the point were some EMS have a card they give to the Dr. I tells them what resposibility they are asuming if the do help ie: they have to go with the patient all the way to the ER- in the middle of nowhere this can be some distance.
The other thing is when EMS gets there and takes over get out of the way. They know what they are doing more often than not. You may have been trained to do something one way but they have to do it their way because of protocols and regulations that effect them- these are totally different than the ones in the 'relative sterility' of the hospital or office environment.
Jun 25, '04Taking a CPR class does not make you a professional rescuer. They did not teach you first-aid, splinting, etc. in your class.
When I lived in the US, I always stopped at any accident, or emergencies is resturants when they were announced, same as on airplanes.
Over here, because of where I live and work, there are always police at the scene almost immediately. Luckily enough it is usually a motorcycle accident with a minor spill because of wet pavement. And nothing more serious. I also have a communication problem as I only speak a little Thai. Not enough to try to explain anything. Emergency medicine services here as far as pre-hospital are almost non-existant. Due to traffic, it is hard for ambulances to get thru, there is no place for the card to pull over...........There is no emergency medicine training program in Thailand. Most ER doctors are actually GPs which means that they have only done an internship........
Jun 25, '04Suzanne....my CPR class is first aid as well...required by our school. And we are titled professional rescuer when we pass.
Jun 25, '04I was told by my CPR instructor that no we are not in any way obligated to stop and help especially if it puts us at any kind of risk.
I probably would stop and help, but I'd keep the help limited to anything that did not require exposure if I wasn't carrying gloves and a barrier.
I know a doc who saved a life with an emergency trach. The guy was basically dead, the obstruction totally occluded his airway. The hospital didn't give antibiotics and his vocal cords got infected. He could talk, but his voice was different. Now this man did not make his living speaking or anything, but he sued the doc, EMS, and the hospital and won millions. So it really is a consideration these days unfortunately.
Jun 25, '04cyberkat...yeah, we were told to assess the scene and if it was dangerous, just to call for help, but if it wasn't that we were obligated to ask if they wanted assistance. I think I would be nervous about doing it but wouldn't want the person to not have someone helping them right away, KWIM?
Jun 25, '04As nurses here in the UK, we are bound by our Code of Conduct to offer assistance in any emergency outside of the workplace - especially if we are in uniform. We are expected to provide the same level of care as can be expected within the environment and with the facilities available to us at the time.
I am lucky, because I have done my 'First Aid at Work', which is a four day first aid and basic life support course. However, I would still think very carefully before offering any assistance in an emergency situation. And I would always ensure that I only carried out actions that I would be able to justify 100% if required at a later stage in a court of law.