ACLS not encouraged?

  1. Was wondering if anyone knows of any case law concerning a failure to act malpractice suit regarding delay of care in regard to ACLS.

    I work at a facility, in the MICU (as a traveler), that encourages RN's to call the MD before acting in emergency situations. I have encountered situations where even a 30-60 second delay to call the MD, rather than just giving the ACLS meds I'm trained to deliver, can cause patient harm or even death.

    I am a traveler, so I want to follow the facility's policy, but if I failed to act to the highest level of my training and it was challenged in court, I'm afraid I could be held libel. I have heard of cases such as this, but would like to have some specific case law to provide to my travel company.

    Any help in locating articles or similar case law would be helpful.

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    About DKMRN, ADN

    Joined: Dec '03; Posts: 1
    Nurse-critical care/ER; from US
    Specialty: ICU,CCU, MICU, SICU, ER


  3. by   taylor21
    first and foremost, you HAVE to follow procedure. If it is not in the protocols you can't be held liable for it. I am an EMT that is trained in ACLS, but it is not in my protocol so........ even when I know there is something for the patient that I can do I have to abide by the rules and do what I can.
    Last edit by taylor21 on Sep 11, '06
  4. by   Noryn
    ACLS just provides extra training and education, it does not override your states nurse's act. Unless you are an advanced practice RN you cannot legally and note I said legally prescribe or administer medications without an order. Most places do have policies and standing orders that have been approved by the medical staff that allow you to follow ACLS guidelines. However if there is no standing order or policy then as RNs it is out of our scope to administer medications or procedures without an order. It is just like doing an emergency crich or intubation (which is covered in ACLS), for the most part RNs will not be doing this although some may intubate but this is more of an exception.

    That being said, there is one poster I know who will disagree with me but our legal system from my experience here in the states is a joke at times. Lawyers can make you look bad regardless if it is right or not.
  5. by   LoraLou
    technically at our hospital nurses are not supposed to start acls protocol before a doctor is in the room (were a teaching hospital with residents/interns in house overnight), however, in reality we do and they 'cover us.' Also we now have eicu which has a physician overnight so we can pull them into the room over the camera and they are also allowed to give us orders.