Accident Scenes: Do You Always Offer Assistance? Accident Scenes: Do You Always Offer Assistance? | allnurses

Accident Scenes: Do You Always Offer Assistance?

  1. 0 Ok, so I have read what many have felt their obligation would be on the scene of an accident, but what would you do if you caused the accident, hitting a pedestrian, country road, EMS 10 minutes or more away, obvious head injury, face down on roadway. You're an RN in fact studying for MSN, do you have an obligation to render assistance or at least do an evaluation based on your medical knowledge?
  2. 82 Comments

  3. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    2
    Is this an ethical homewrok question/project?
    ashleyisawesome and Altra like this.
  4. Visit  DawnJ profile page
    0
    Yes, obligated
  5. Visit  elkpark profile page
    2
    Quote from JD'sMom
    Ok, so I have read what many have felt their obligation would be on the scene of an accident, but what would you do if you caused the accident, hitting a pedestrian, country road, EMS 10 minutes or more away, obvious head injury, face down on roadway. You're an RN in fact studying for MSN, do you have an obligation to render assistance or at least do an evaluation based on your medical knowledge?
    That specific a scenario sounds an awful lot like a homework question. What are your thoughts about it??
    acerbia and ashleyisawesome like this.
  6. Visit  classicdame profile page
    5
    what would you do if you were not a nurse?
  7. Visit  RNperdiem profile page
    2
    Well, there is not much you can do at this point except whip out your phone and call for an ambulance.
    Without equipment there really isn't much you are able to do that makes a difference.
    I didn't hit anyone, but I was in a similar situation. I stayed with the injured man until the paramedics arrived, then I stepped out of the way to let them do their job.
    NurseOnAMotorcycle and CountyRat like this.
  8. Visit  BrandonLPN profile page
    1
    What *could* you do, beyond applying pressure to a hemorrhage or something? Doing a neuro check or LOC assessment seems pointless with EMS minutes away.
    anotherone likes this.
  9. Visit  NurseOnAMotorcycle profile page
    16
    If you caused the accident?? You always stop if there's an accident you are involved it, otherwise it's called "hit and run" and you go to jail or whatever.
    uRNmyway, Prac, Pistachio, and 13 others like this.
  10. Visit  maffechr profile page
    0
    In our law of torts, you do not have a legal obligation to help an injured person, absent a relationship to the person in some way (I.e you hit the person). In your case, you must stay at the scene. However, that should be the extent of your help, beyond administering CPR or helping to remove the person from the bottom of a running car.
  11. Visit  CountyRat profile page
    2
    Well, hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers, so my response will not be appropriate in every real-world situation.

    However, in situations that I have been in (not hitting the person, thank God, but being present) I have provided what aid I could; ensuring a patent airway, controlling severe bleeding, protecting the victim from cold wind and rain, etc. I agree with those who opine that the most important thing that I could do is to call 911 and protect the victim from further harm. I note the victim’s general neurological condition so that I can report it to the EMS personnel, give the EMS team members a 5-10 second report, and then get out of their way.

    So, yes, I believe that I have an ethical duty to offer aid in most situations, acknowledging that different responses may be more appropriate in different situations.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Oct 12, '12
    uRNmyway and CrufflerJJ like this.
  12. Visit  sckimrn profile page
    1
    As a general rule, I do not stop at accidents if the first responders are already there. They have equipment, I don't. In a case like this, I would think you are obligated to stay since you caused the accident. You would have a moral and legal obligation to stay, but about the only thing you could do would be to stop any bleeding if you could.
    TeenyTinyBabyRN likes this.
  13. Visit  Elladora profile page
    4
    Even if you caused the accident, why would you not offer aid until the EMS arrives? (Assuming you are clean and sober - if not, that's a whole new issue).

    Being an EMT and a nurse, I always, always, always stop to offer assistance unless I see an EMS crew onsite.
  14. Visit  chuckster profile page
    3
    In my home state of PA, there is no duty to act in emergency situations for "physicians, nurses and health professionals." So legally, if you just continue on your way, you are in the clear. The moral issue is another question however. It's just not in my nature to ignore ignore this kind of thing and anyway, I have a lot of years as a first responder.

    As a result, I almost always stop, ask if 9-1-1 has been called (and do so if not), identify myself as an EMT rather than a nurse, and render appropriate assistance within the EMT scope until the EMS crews arrives. At that point, I'll give a brief report to the crew and turn things over to them. Most of my assistance has been very low key, making sure the victim doesn't unintentionally make their injury worse, e. g., keeping MVA victims calm and immobile. It's amazing to see how much you can help the situation by doing nothing more than asking a few questions and providing calm assurance that help is on the way.
    CountyRat, Esme12, and Elladora like this.

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