Question... are we supposed to help? Good Samaritan. - page 4

Hi all. I have a question. As nurses or nursing students, if we see an accident say on the side of the road, are we supposed to help and render medical assistance?? How does this tie in with the... Read More

  1. by   Dalzac
    If I was witness to an accident I would stop and have done so many times. Only once did any one even ask my name, but the The one time they did and that was the cops. A small truck that had 10 illegal immigrants flipped doing 70 on I-40 in the middle of the desert. It was the most horrific mess I had ever seen. One fella was face down in a ditch. My hubby and 3 truckers and me log rolled the victim to his back. He had flail chest and was sucking up a ton of sand into his mouth and throat. One hiway patrol cop showed up and threw his med bag at me when he found out I was a trauma nurse. Most of the victims were very badly hurt ranging from the guy i just described to compoud fractures and open head wounds. It was really nasty. He called in 3 choppers and 3 ambulances. And stopped traffic on I-40 for 3 hours. Plus they had to call in anotheer chopper because 4 of the men in the accident that may have been hurt disappeared into the desert and they had to find them. I was sent a very nice letter from the California Highway Patrol thanking me for the help.
    I hope the good Samaritin law helps because I will always stop and offer help. Like Granny always said "Treat others the way you want to be treated."
  2. by   Gromit
    As long as you don't go outside of your scope of training, you should always be 'fine'. I've always stopped to help if no ems had yet arrived -cops at best (as a general rule) receive only basic training, and with one single exception, I've never seen them do what they know very well or to any good effect (and I could tell you horror stories about their attempts at cpr or even slowing bleeding of major wounds (one cop stuffed a deep wound with tissue paper but we won't go there). I've rarely ever volunteered my level of training, however. I'll announce my first name, and offer to help -if asked I will tell my level of experience. Nothing on my vehicles (bike or truck) suggests anything medical. (back in my ems days, I had a sticker with my rank and profession on it, but took it off my car when my partners' car was broken into and all of his medical gear was taken -the stethoscope, a jump bag and his pocket mask. We suspected it was probably a junkie looking for drugs -which we didn't carry in our bags anyway)
    Last edit by Gromit on Feb 24, '07
  3. by   azhiker96
    Quote from jjjoy
    Why are people always so afraid of "being held to a higher standard"? Aren't those standards reasonable?

    If someone tries to do a field tracheostomy with a pocket knife and a straw like they saw on TV, THAT would be irresponsible. If a nurse did this, even having been trained in the limitations of their practice, it would be worse than if a layperson did it (though dumb for either) and the nurse should be "held to a higher standard." You're not going to do something dumb like that, are you?
    Interesting example. In my case, I was trained in the army on how to do a field tracheostomy. Although I feel confident that I could do one today, I wouldn't because it's not within my nursing scope of practice. I have stopped and assisted at accidents; called 911, held pressure, splinted a broken limb and even evacuated a woman from a remote area to where I could transfer her to an ambulance. However, unless and until I become a NP, I can't create a surgical airway. If I come across a child, I might risk my license and livelyhood if that's the only way for me to establish a patent airway. I doubt I'd risk my life for an adult. Legally, even if I establish a patent airway and the patient survives, I can be successfully sued and lose my nursing license for practicing medicine.
  4. by   BrnEyedGirl
    I'm in Missouri,...here the Good Samaritan Law is to protect medical professionals who choose to offer medical assistance outside of their place of employment,..ie as an Nurse I cannot treat a pt w/out a physicians order,....there is no mandate to stop and offer help,.but I'm protected if I do,..I agree w/one of the earlier posts though,..trying to help someone on the floor of the mall is the most frustrating thing I've ever done,..it was a classic MI,..my nursing brain is screaming for O2, nitro, morphine, get a line in this guy and all I had were my 2 hands,...if he'd of stopped breathing and went asystole at least I could of done CPR!!!!

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