Rode up on first accident outside of hospital.... - page 7

by shoegalRN

7,019 Views | 65 Comments

Hey my fellow RN's! I need some advice. I was on my way home from my moma's house and rode up on a car accident. Medics were not on the scene yet. I pull over, get out of my car and head to the first car. The guy is on... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from OCNRN63
    I personally don't feel comfortable stopping at accidents for numerous reasons. I will call 911, but I will not stop. I don't think I deserve to be bashed for it.

    On a side note, I used to do it. One time while traveling out of state, I witnessed an accident. I stopped. Flash forward a couple of months and I got dragged into court (not related to anything I did on the scene, but because I witnessed the accident). Not only did I have to pay for my expenses to travel back to the state where the accident occurred, I lost several days wages since it happened while I was on vaca. and not related to work. Then I had to endure the defense atty. questioning my integrity (yeah, the guy defending the very man who 's reckless driving caused the accident, who I had stopped to help).

    While this really has nothing to do with why I don't stop at accidents, it's an example of what you can get yourself into when you do choose to stop.

    So think less of me if you wish. I just don't feel that I have the expertise to manage accidents at the scene. It's a personal decision and I don't think I should be condemned for it.
    I am not bashing you but I do have a question. It is my understanding that an individual cannot be forced to travel to another state, in a civil case. I have been notified that my testimony was requested in two different states, both long distance from my place of residence. One was for a civil suit and the other criminal. Even if a summons is served from another state, it is unenforceable. The attorney and that court has no jurisdiction in another state.

    If I were ever given a summons to appear at a civil trial, in another state, I would not go. I would not go unless the attorney who had the summons served, bought my plane ticket first, and prepaid my hotel bill. And I dare him or any other attorney to have me jailed for contempt of court.

    I have stopped at five car accidents and for what turned out to be one dead body. I have never been asked to appear, although I did witness two of them, in court. I cannot just drive by and call 911. And I guess I got pay back, when a paramedic called 911, for me, then came and render aid. And yes, I kept gloves, a basic first aid kit and various size air ways. But that is just me.

    GrannyRN65
    Hospice Nurse LPN likes this.
  2. 0
    I know it is difficult to know what is the right thing to do sometimes as a new nurse, but this is what I found out when I googled "duty to rescue". I found this in the "Nurses' Legal Handbook" (probably something we should all read...)

    If you live in a state that has a "duty to rescue" law such as Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, you have a legal duty to stop and assist. If your state does not have the "duty to rescue" law, you do not have a legal obligation to stop. Now, here is the part you worried about....as you did stop, you did have the legal obligation to stay at the scene until the emergency responders arrived, according to this book. As the book reads, "When you stop your car at the scene, you give the appearance to other potential rescuers that you'll take care of the victim. At that point, you establish a nurse-patient relationship for that particular emergency." I would have probably done what you did when I saw they were okay, but in the future, if you stop, you need to stay until help arrives....


    I am thinking that I need to buy that book....
  3. 0
    Quote from ACook84
    On that note, I am still in nursing school and we learned in week 4 or 5 that in the state of MI we are required to stop if we witnessed the accident. My instructor stressed the fact that when she approaches the scene she says the following "Hi, my name is ____, i am an RN, and i am here to help under the good samaritan law." She mentioned that if somebody witnessed you driving away and they knew (somehow) that you are a nurse, you CAN be penalized for it. Just something to consider.

    Can you provide a reference for this law? I live in Michigan and I've heard of something like this, but I don't think it has anything to do with being a nurse or stopping to help those involved in the accident. I believe the law requires anyone, nurse or not, who witnesses an accident to stop so they can report what they saw to police.
  4. 0
    Quote from grannyrn65
    I am not bashing you but I do have a question. It is my understanding that an individual cannot be forced to travel to another state, in a civil case. I have been notified that my testimony was requested in two different states, both long distance from my place of residence. One was for a civil suit and the other criminal. Even if a summons is served from another state, it is unenforceable. The attorney and that court has no jurisdiction in another state.

    If I were ever given a summons to appear at a civil trial, in another state, I would not go. I would not go unless the attorney who had the summons served, bought my plane ticket first, and prepaid my hotel bill. And I dare him or any other attorney to have me jailed for contempt of court.

    I have stopped at five car accidents and for what turned out to be one dead body. I have never been asked to appear, although I did witness two of them, in court. I cannot just drive by and call 911. And I guess I got pay back, when a paramedic called 911, for me, then came and render aid. And yes, I kept gloves, a basic first aid kit and various size air ways. But that is just me.

    GrannyRN65
    It wasn't a civil case.

    I was told I would be cited for contempt of court. I wasn't going to take the chance on that. I was a relatively new nurse at the time, so I sucked up the four hour drive. The kicker was the first time I went the case was delayed, so I had to go back second time. When I complained, I was again told I would be cited for contempt if I did not show. So for a second time I drove back for the trial.

    But again, that did not necessarily color my decision today. I personally do not feel competent to treat people as a first responder, nor do I feel comfortable putting myself in danger at an accident scene. Not the way people in my area drive. I'm not willing to become a casualty trying to render minimal first aid. I will call 911, and in my area EMS is readily at hand.
  5. 0
    I wouldn't stop, but if I stopped, I'd have stayed.
  6. 0
    Quote from shoegalRN
    Hey my fellow RN's! I need some advice.

    I was on my way home from my moma's house and rode up on a car accident. Medics were not on the scene yet. I pull over, get out of my car and head to the first car. The guy is on his cell phone, says he hit his head, but otherwise ok. I hear medics running hot to the scene. I asked him if he knew what happened and he said "yeah". He knew what year it was and then he tells me to check on the guy in other car.

    The other car is in the middle of the highway and traffic was stalled. I run over to the other car and bang on the window and he is also on his cell phone, he states he is not hurt and he is ok.

    So, I leave since both guys are ok, the one who hit his head was A&O, and I heard sierens.

    On the drive home, I couldnt help but think did the guy who hit his head may needed a CT? What if he had a brain bleed? Then I thought, I didnt even have any equipment in my car (only the kit the American Cross give you when you complete BLS) and even that was in my other car.

    Would you have stayed? I'm wondering if I should have stayed until help actually got on the scene, although both parties "seemed" ok.

    Now I'm beating myself up over this......
    nahhh.


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