Wellbeing of the EMT: Legal and Ethical Issues Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Wellbeing of the EMT: Legal and Ethical Issues Deck (22)
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General Things to be aware of

Affect of adrenaline on self Be in peak mental, emotional, physical condition


Physical Risks

Hazard- Weapons Hazard- Environmental (electrical wires, chemicals, unstable buildings, etc) Hazard- Exposure to communicable diseases (Hepatitis, AIDS, tuberculosis, SARS, etc) Vehicle- pathogens (bloodborne, airborne)


Why stay mindful of physical risks?

To not complicate response to emergency in which an EMT is now a patient that requires attention (two more teams required for care)


Physical Risk: Precautions and Preventions

Prevention- Inoculations

Prevention- Wearing protective equipment (gloves, masks, etc)

Precaution- Avoid contaminated items (hypodermic needles, clothing, etc)


Mental and Emotional Risks

Hazard- Trauma and PTSD Hazard- Death and Dying are frequent


Why stay mindful of Mental/ Emotional Risks?

Ability to function at job and in life, especially when dealing with PTSD


Mental/ Emotional Risks PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder Symptom- irritability, isolation Symptom- inability to concentrate Symptom- difficulty sleeping/ dreams Symptom- guilt Symptom- loss of appetite, sexual desire Serious after a few days


Mental/ Emotional Risks Stages of Grief

Denial, Isolation Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance


How to respond to PTSD

Notify supervisor, seek out help from internal or external counseling Share emotions in confidence with one's co-workers Processing can take an indefinite period of time


Legal/ Ethical

Scope of Practice

Determined by state in which licensed


Legal/ Ethical Standard of Care

Determined by state in which licensed


Legal/ Ethical Duty to Act

Anytime an EMT is ON DUTY (as a prehospital medical provider) s/he must act on any ill or injured patient s/he is dispatched to


Legal/ Ethical Patient Consent

Competent individuals have the right to permit or refuse any treatment In a conflict, patient's right of refusal will trump what is viewed to be recommended or reasonable


Legal/ Ethical Expressed Consent

Verbal consent given by a competent patient


Legal/ Ethical Implied Consent

Consent automatically inferred from a patient who is unconscious or inebriated


Legal/ Ethical


(Not seriously intoxicated)


No magical standard indicates "too intoxicated"


EMT must determine on scene and determine the level of medical care


Minors are not considered competent, parents make decisions



Legal/ Ethical Litigation

Know defenses against being sued by patients based on duties


Legal/ Ethical

Good Samaritan Law

Immunity against liability for someone who performs an emergency medical procedure for which s/he is is trained/ certified for UNLESS it is done in a way that is grossly negligent


Legal/ Ethical

Confidentiality (2 exceptions)


(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

Keep all medical information private. Interview/ examine patient in as private a setting as possible.

Discuss only with (1) person to whom you transfer care of patient or (2) compelled by legal order



Legal/ Ethical

Crime Scenes

Disturb as little as possible

Document patient care, disturbances required for patient care

Mandated reporter for child abuse

Some states require notification for: 1. sudden death, 2. gunshot wounds, 3. spousal/ elder abuse, 4. animal bites


Legal/ Ethical 

Medical Direction (Chain)

State Protocols, then:

Medical Control (on-line medical control/ off-line medical control)

On-line: Consulting with an emergency department physician-- transfers patient care to physician (EMT is eyes and ears) 

Off-line: Follow written orders from physician without on-line contact