101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Friday, October 9

You Make the Call...Line Up

Nighttime is always good for a few fights and you've caught a decent one.

A couple of guys from out of town got mugged and attacked with a knife. Nothing major, but the report in your mind already has the phrase "copious ETOH odor" so both are getting full c-spine precautions with various bruises forming on their faces and some superficial lacerations to their faces, necks and torsos.

Nothing worth screaming towards the trauma center for, but certainly taking your time for a full secondary assessment.

As you're completing C-spine precautions on the man on the bench seat and indicate your driver to go, a police officer jumps in the back and begins asking the men questions. Completely understandable, so you get a head start on your charting in the few moments he takes to finish up getting different descriptions from your patients, who are clearly intoxicated beyond remembering.

You exchange your professional courtesies and the officer climbs out and closes the door. As you begin to pull away from the curb, he opens the door and asks you to divert over 4 blocks for a lineup, they think they have the suspect in custody.

Both men are in full C-spine precautions.

Divert oven and have your patients ID the suspect or not?

You make the call.

15 comments:

LadyHavoc said...

No to the divert. If the patient is in c-spine precautions and intoxicated, the chances of him/her making a coherent ID of a suspect are slim to none. I would tell PD that the pt is on his way to ED and they can follow up there. I'm all for professional courtesy and departments working together, but patient care comes first.

Adam said...

I have to agree with LadyHavoc on this one.

Ckemtp said...

Nope, and the cop should know better than to ask. You'd be negligent for removing them from the c-spine precautions and I'd think that someone's lawyer would point that out to your patients.

If the cop got mad about it, I'd expect more than a written warning next time they saw you in your POV... but no way would I do this.

Capt. Schmoe said...

Sorry, no. There is no way the victims are going to be able to participate in any recognized field line up technique while in full spinal precautions.

A polite refusal is in order.

medicblog999 said...

As all of the above!

Maybe if the patient wasnt fully immobilised, and explicitly stated he was either going to identify the assailant or would refuse to go to hospital (and I was worried about said patient) would I CONSIDER allowing the ID process.

In this case however, absolutely not, no way, nada!

Wayne Conrad said...

I'm not EMS, so not qualified to answer. But I've got this picture in my head of y'all holding the backboard up so that the immobilized drunk can see the lineup. Cut to the scene it the courtroom, where the defendant's lawyer is asking the right questions to make it apparent to the jury that the identification was made by a drunk strapped to a board. And that's funny.

brendan said...

No, and you're doing the officer a favor by doing so. A first-year law student could get the ID tossed.

The Grumpy Dispatcher said...

I saw it like Wayne. I was like, Keystone Medics! We'll see that our collared guy will help you get your collar, too! Grab that corner... and... lift!

Sorry, officer, wish we could help ya.

the observer said...

Wayne beat me to the punch. Witness IDs are getting questioned more and more anyhow. Can you say "reasonable doubt." ?

A polite but firm "No." to this request.

Big Show said...

Pt. needs to go to the ER period end of story. That's just the way things are, you tx people to the ER or RMA and leave them on scene, those are your only options. Also, I'm willing to bet you'd be doing the PD a favor, any good defense attorney would get any identification by an intoxicated person thrown out really quickly. They'd be better off showing the vic's the different photos in the morning.

Medix311 said...

"That's a negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full." Patient care comes first and foremost. Besides, that's two supine, backboarded drunks in the back of my unit and time is ticking on the vomit clock :)

Triple Beeper said...

Medical care comes first. Any lineup they participate in would be challenged in court if they're intox anyway, right?

Rescue Monkey said...

Negative on the divertion. The police officers can handle that later after the patients have been seen by the doctors. Your ambulance is a valuable resource and it needs to be in service as soon as possible. The police shouldn't have asked you to divert.

MotorCop said...

I'd also say no, but with a caveat. You and yours (EMS types, that is) really have no say as to what the alleged victim's state of mind re: an identification (intoxication, etc.) may or may not be.

Sure, it's obvious to the majority of us what different levels of intoxication there are, but your job is to provide patient care, not be a trial lawyer.

Of course, I can't imagine any Cop worth his salt would bother pursuing the issue if the "victims" are already on a board and ready for transport. That's why there are photo lineups for a later time.

Fire Critic said...

You guys don't have skype in the back of the box? Come on. Strap a flat screen to the ceiling, plug it into the computer and they can skype the call from on scene with the perps.

You guys.....You gotta learn to think outside the "box".

Skype Baby...Skype!!!!