DUI's in the ER

Specialties Emergency


Just wondering how you other folks out there handle DUI's in your ER's. The police bring them in and we draw their blood and obtain urine as requested. We end up being subpoenaed often which is a pain. How do the rest of you handle this?

HI, work in a small hospital ER. Any "here's the kit, I need a DUI blood draw" is done by the lab tech on duty. They're the pro's and are less likely to get the dreaded paper, but if they do, it's for a short depo. As for the trauma's, most cases the nurse has done a draw and the trooper/deputy may just get the medical record results at a later date - then the nurse may get to go to the depo. In 4 years of this policy, no nurse has gone to depo/court.

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

In almost 5 years I have done probably 30 "legal draws". I have only been asked to show up in court once, and they told me to be there at 1pm. They then generously offered to pay for parking, and write me a check for $6. I got to leave at about 4pm, and never got called up to the stand. Not bad? $2 an hour and free parking, to sit and stare at the wall outside the courtroom. :rolleyes:


DUI are strickly done by our lab techs, thus keeping the RNs out of the loop. In the past the offenders are brought into the ER, but recently the health system that I work for opened a DUI processing center allowing the ER to be removed from the circle. This is great since our annual volume is encroaching 51-52,000.

Having taken care of the after math of several DUI's, I am always happy to draw the blood and appear in court. I've never been reimbursed for my time. While I don't believe that my efforts will save the world, if I can keep one of these low lifes from killing and maiming, then I have spent my time well.

I've worked in Hospitals where I did the legals and where lab did them. Most hosp. have changed over to having lab do all legals because it's to hard to replace the nurse who has to go to court! I was lucky because the times I had to go to court my rural hosp. paid my wages so I did a little bit better then $2/hr...but not much HA.

I work in a rural hospital and we use to have this problem. The officers want is drawn as soon as possible. It didn't matter if you were the only nurse on duty in the ER and you had seven other patients to see about. Now the Lab draws them at all times. We now have 24 hour on site lab tech and whether the LBA is on an ER patient or as an Outpatient, the lab personnel draws the blood.

The was a problem with the patient presenting to the ED without an MSE by the ED physician even if it was just a LBA. We would have to ask the patient if he/she needed or would like to see the physician and document this. Now we don't have to worry about this.


Thanks everyone for your replies. We do get paid for our court time but it's not worth it.. I don't see our situation changing any time soon.

Take care everyone!

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