Should I Have Stepped In?? - page 4

So last night right as we were about to fall asleep we heard what sounded like fireworks outside our apt. Then we heard people screaming. We thought it may have been gunfire since we also saw the... Read More

  1. by   GIRN
    Leesespieces....you did exactly the right thing. If the police wanted medical help, they could have asked the crowd if anyone had medical training. The scene was definitely not secured and it was dangerous for you guys to even be outside watching. As a former EMT I know that we couldn't even get out of the ambulance until the police had secured the scene...just because the police are there it doesn't mean it's safe yet. As many posters before me have said, "Your safety is more important than the victim"...you can only help when it's safe for you to do so. Giving medical aid to a traffic accident victim is much different than a shooting victim in the middle of Chicago. Even for a traffic victim it can be dangerous....in our city, we had a Paramedic student run up to offer aid at the scene of an accident and he was hit and killed by a passing car. Paramedics have a very dangerous job which requires a lot of special training....you knowing CPR didn't prepare you to enter that particular scene and you weren't at all obligated...nor should anyone encourage you...to have done so.
  2. by   LPNEMSCT
    I agree with Jill 100%, the OP did run outside to see what was going on, so she didn't feel unsafe, if she didn't feel safe she should have went back in the house and looked out the window. By her post she stayed out there long enough to see a relative sitting next to the patient and maybe saw them give him one breath. I don't mean to be harsh, but what was the point of you going out there if you weren't going to do anything? I've only been in nursing school for 3 months and I know that the good samaritan laws would cover me in a situation like this, no you didn't have to do anything but I think this has alot to do with ethics.
    Last edit by LPNEMSCT on Mar 24, '07 : Reason: add on
  3. by   miko014
    Several things...

    I agree with what a lot of you have said about safety and lack of experience here. I don't think I would have offered assistance due to the fact that you don't know if the scene is safe, and even though I am an RN, I don't have any sort of critical care experience...I think I would have just been in the way. It sounds like this guy would have needed more than just CPR...

    A person lying in the street is not a patient...its WAY different from being in the controlled (well, more controlled) environment of a hospital.

    And nobody has touched on the legal aspects of this. The OP asked about the good sam act, and it was answered - as a samaritan, you are protected as long as you acted correctly within your scope. But what if the person died, and the family went crazy and blamed you, and sued you? I mean, I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but are you willing to not only risk your safely, but possibly your license and your livelihood?

    This has turned into a very interesting thread...and Leesespieces, you seem to have a very healthy attitude about the way you acted, and I think you did the right thing for you at the time! None of us were there, so all we can do is speculate - and I'm inclined to say that I would have acted just as you did.
  4. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from jill48
    She said the police were there. Is that not safe enough for you all?
    *snort*

    Yeah, no one ever shoots at the cops.

    I don't know the answer. I probably would have jumped in but I'm an adrenaline junkie and probably wouldn't have noticed the danger. But that ain't heroism, that's hormones.
  5. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from jill48
    You should be ashamed of yourself; and so should all of the posters that supported your cowardness. That was someone's child, brother, or father. And you said you are sure the amulance was only "minutes away"? Well alot can happen in those "minutes". Like you could have helped. It's really sad when someone who can save a life doesn't just because they are afraid of legal ramifications. If anything, there should be legal ramifications for people who can help but refuse to. And to all of you who are going to post now and say that I am being to rough on the OP, this was a life or death situation, and she could have saved a life.
    Get serious.

    There are probably two reasons why the police were not performing CPR on the victim: 1) the victim was breathing on his own and didn't need CPR; 2) the vicitim was dead, dead, dead.

    EMS standard is not to have people go charging into a scene that is not secure. I'd say running into an area where there had just been gunfire would qualify as an unsecured area. And I am sure the police would have just loved having someone come walking into a crime scene, possibly disturbing forensics.

    The OP did not have a legal duty to leave her home and provide care. Maybe in your mind she had an ethical duty, but that is just your opinion.

    The OP did not respond in a display a cowardice ("cowardness" [sic]). She did not feel prepared to face that situation. She would have been liable if she'd inserted herself in a situation she felt she could not handle and then abandoned it.

    There is a monumental difference between stopping at an accident or giving CPR to a heart attack victim and trying to help someone after the gunfight at the OK Corrall. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd like to see this young woman get to graduate.

    As to the question why the OP went outside: natural curiosity. We're human. Why do we slow down and look at traffic accidents? Same reason. I'll bet she wasn't outside very long. The fact that her curiosity got the best of her is no reason for her to be condemned.

    Personally, I am appalled as an experienced nurse at the harsh, vindictive replies the OP got from some people. I understand this has troubled her. It's part of the growing process she has to go through as she becomes a nurse. For pity's sake, please allow her the chance to grow into her role.
    Last edit by PANurseRN1 on Mar 24, '07
  6. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from jill48
    She said the police were there. Is that not safe enough for you all?
    No. Cops get shot on scene all the time. They have advantage of protective gear. Bystanders do not.
  7. by   jill48
    Quote from scallisto
    jill48,
    I think you should be ashamed of yourself!! Yes everyone is entitled to their opinion but you could have been a little more compassionate in your post. You were really harsh. Also, you cannot say for certain what you would have done, as a NURSING STUDENT, in that situation b/c you were not in the situation as a NURSING STUDENT!

    Steph
    COMPASSION? Let me get this straight, I should have more compassion for someone who stood by and did nothing while she had no compassion for the poor dying soul on the ground? Where is your COMPASSION for that person, or the next one she comes across?
    Ethically, it has nothing to do with whether you are a student, a seasoned nurse, or a teenager who just learned CPR in health class. It comes down to who is willing to offer help, get in there and do whatever they can to help, and try like hell to save a life. It doesn't matter whether I have 11 years in nursing or 11 months. I'm not saying it's not scary, and you may not even remember what to do. But wouldn't it be worth it for that dying person for you to even try? The OP says she thinks she did the right thing, but if that is so, why is she asking for advice? Could it be because in the back of her mind she knows she could have made the tiniest effort? I'm not saying it wasn't a dangerous situation. Maybe I am just not as scared of the external circumstances as some of you are. I just believe that if God put me there, then I am there for a reason. I'm not going to jump in a situation where I don't belong and pull a MacGuyver by cutting a trach hole in his throat, I'm just going to offer my help, in the form of pushing on the chest and blowing in the mouth. My eleven years experience doesn't mean I do CPR every day, and to tell you the truth I always forget the ratio of breaths to compressions - but does it really matter if I do 5 compressions to 1 breath or 10 compressions to 2 breaths? No. Experience has nothing to do with it. Just push and blow. So I am really sorry that some of you thought that I am a little too harsh on this thread, but life and death situations cause me to get really serious. I'll try to make my opinion more fluffy next time. Right now I'm trying to remember the last time I heard on the news an amazing story about a hero who saved a life by thinking of his own safety, making sure the surrounding environment was all rainbows and butterflies, and got signed statements from the patient and all the witnesses promising not to sue.
    Last edit by jill48 on Mar 24, '07
  8. by   PANurseRN1
    Well, good for you. That's what works for you. But there was no reason to bully the OP, which is what you did. She was obviously conflicted. There would have been much better ways to offer a differring POV without trying to make her feel like a terrible person.

    FWIW, do you even work in the EMS system? Do you get to work with the police, ambulance crews, etc? Maybe things are just different in your area, because where I live I can tell you it would not be appreciated if you went busting into a scene where crime scene tape had gone up. (Which, BTW, when there's a body, usually means the person is dead, obviating the need for CPR.)
  9. by   PANurseRN1
    One other thing...if you are not afraid of your external env., you are dangerous. Smart people in the field know enought to have a healthy fear of what could happen, and why they don't just go diving in without knowing the scene.
  10. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from PANurseRN1
    Well, good for you. That's what works for you. But there was no reason to bully the OP, which is what you did. She was obviously conflicted. There would have been much better ways to offer a differring POV without trying to make her feel like a terrible person.

    FWIW, do you even work in the EMS system? Do you get to work with the police, ambulance crews, etc? Maybe things are just different in your area, because where I live I can tell you it would not be appreciated if you went busting into a scene where crime scene tape had gone up. (Which, BTW, when there's a body, usually means the person is dead, obviating the need for CPR.)
    Never mind. I looked at your profile. My questions are answered.
  11. by   jill48
    Quote from CASbeezgirlRN
    The OP also said she actually NEVER had to do CPR. This scene was NOT a good time for her to do her first one. Not at all.

    I as a seasoned nurse, having done many rounds of CPR wouldn't have gone into this scene. It's too unsafe. She's too green. That's just common sense.
    OMG I cannot even believe you just said that. She's too green? So when would it be a good time and environment for her "first one"? You say "first one" like it's some performance. IT WAS A LIFE. No one is going to care how nervous you are (even experienced nurses still get nervous) or if you miscount on your compressions.
  12. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from leesespieces
    So last night right as we were about to fall asleep we heard what sounded like fireworks outside our apt. Then we heard people screaming. We thought it may have been gunfire since we also saw the lights of a police car a minute later. So we go outside to see what happened and find that 2 people were shot like 100 feet from our building!!! There was a young man lying on the ground, bleeding and someone said he was not breathing. ( The other guy I think was shot in the arm but was walking around and talking) The police were there but no one was doing compressions on this guy. It looked like there was a family member sitting next to him and I though I saw him give rescue breaths once. Then I heard him say he might have been breathing.

    Now I am not a nurse yet (7 weeks to go) but I am CPR certified. I didn't step in and offer to do CPR for a few reasons. They had started to put up the crime scene tape and it was only a matter of a minute before the ambulance arrived. I never got real close but it looked bloody and I didn't have any gloves or anything and I don't know this guy from Adam. I've never had to actually do CPR. I guess I was just plain scared! Plus I don't know the possible ramifications if something went wrong. Would the Good Samaritan Act protect me? Was I obligated by law being healthcare provider CPR certified and a CNA to do something? I know the ambulance got there right away but now that I am thinking about it today I am getting upset and thinking no matter what I should have done SOMETHING or at least told the police I could try to help if they wanted me to. What do you think" I really feel terrible
    Let me share something with you that happened to me when I was a student.

    I was on summer break after my first year and was going to visit a friend. I was driving across a major bridge that connected one state to another. All of a sudden, there was a terrible accident right in front of me. Several cars involved. One slid on its roof and headed straight for me; I was sure I was going to get pushed straight off the bridge as I was in the outermost lane.

    Traffic came to a standstill. I knew there had to be victims because of how bad the accident was. I was torn as to what to do. On one hand, I thought I should get out and see if I could help; on the other, because I had nothing with me and because of how bad the accident was, I didn't think there was really much I could do til EMS got there. I was also afraid of getting hit by cars trying to get around the pileup. (Philly/NJ drivers aren't exactly the most patient people in the world.)

    EMS got there, and eventually traffic got moving. When I got to my friend's house, we watched the news, and I was horrified to hear that there were several fatalities. I sat there shaking and crying, thinking that maybe I could have done "something." That haunted me for a long, long time.

    In retrospect, I now know that there was probably little I could have done. The scene was not secure, I did not have appropriate equipment to help them like c-collars (never thought about gloves and masks since this was back in the pre-HIV days) and I did not at that time have the knowledge to care for their level of injuries.

    Don't let this get to you. You did what was right for you in that situation. In another place and another time, you might react differently.
  13. by   jill48
    Quote from New2ER
    Actually no. As I said earlier I've run EMS for 7 years or so and have been in some very similar situations. I know of at least 2 cases where the police felt they has secured the scene after a shooting only to have the shooter return.

    In one case the shooter jumped out of the closet of the apartment and shot the EMT on scene dead. He was the only person in the room because the police had already "secured" the scene. In the other, a shooting victim was being loaded into the back of an ambulance when the original shooter walked up to the stretcher and shot the victim in the head. These are rare but not unheard of instances. For a different kind of personal danger, a nurse I worked had contracted Hep C after doing mouth to mouth on a 12 year old that had hit his head on the side (open wound) of a pool and nearly drowned, his parents hadn't told anybody that he was infected.

    I understand your anger over leaving a patient that could theoretically be saved and I applaud your courage and pulling over at accident scenes to help, however, in my opinion, personal safety is first and foremost. Can you honestly tell me that you'd be OK with being shot or contracting, say, HIV just so you can say you were being a hero? As nurses we're always thinking 2 steps ahead. EMS is no different, but safety for ourselves and other rescuers is always most important.
    I'm not a hero. I never said I was one, and I don't want to be one. I'm just somebody who would help if it was needed. It has nothing to do with my skills. It has everything to do with me dedicating my life to people who cannot help themselves. And yes, I would take the chances you mentioned above. That is just who I am and I'm proud of it. So think what you want of me, but I guarantee if it was your brother or mother lying on the ground, you would be quite happy that someone like me was there.

close