Legal Responsibilities of an EMT, Paramedic, Firefighter, and Emergency Medical Responders
EMT’s, paramedics and firefighters are always responding to emergency medical calls and being in this profession of the emergency medical services these first responders have legal responsibilities that they must always be aware and always consider.
One of the first things an emergency medical responder must consider is the standard of care in the way they act or behave toward other individuals in a certain way. Sometimes an occasion may arise in certain circumstances when an emergency medical responder may have to make a decision to either act or to refrain from acting. What this may involve is when an emergency medical responder must be concerned about the safety of crew members and the potential for causing others injury or harm.
Another thing emergency medical responders must consider is standards imposed by local custom. This just means that an individual is to be judged in comparison with the conduct of other persons of similar training and experience.
Professional or institutional standards are also imposed by the law. A professional standards are published recommendations of organizations and societies involved in emergency medical care. An institutional standard involves rules and procedures of the emergency service where the EMT, paramedic or firefighter works.
The number one legal term that EMT’s, paramedics and firefighters know and do not want to be accused of is that of negligence. Negligence has three terms attached to it and they are duty, breach of that duty, and causation of injury.
Duty is when an emergency responder has been called to a scene to help a victim the emergency responder has a duty to help that person.
Breach of duty is the failure of rendering aid to a person.
Causation of injury is to cause further injury when rendering aid to a person.
Abandonment is also one of those terms that will end an emergency responder’s career.
When an emergency responder begins caring for a patient and then if the patient is being transferred to another professional that is less equal qualified than the emergency responder this is abandonment.
EMT’s and emergency medical responders are always confronted with the consent to treat or touch a patient.
One type of consent is that called implied consent. Emergency situations create an implication that a person consents to receive care.
Actual consent is when a patient gives a medical emergency responder authority to provide care and transport.
Informed consent is making sure the patient understands the treatment, procedures, complications, and risks and be mentally and physically capable to make decisions.
Implied consent is when a person who needs immediate emergency care to prevent death or physical impairment would consent.
Consent to the mentally ill usually gives emergency responder consent to care for a person with a mental illness and judged incompetent. The person must be legally judged incompetent. In the case a person has been judged legally incompetent a guardian usually possesses the right to consent on behalf of the patient.
When an emergency medical responder arrives on a scene and talks with a patient that patient has the right to refuse treatment as long as that person is not confused, delusional and able to make medically rash decisions concerning their health. If a person is confused or delusional the EMT cannot assume that the refusal of treatment is a knowing refusal.
Competent adults who have religious reasons for refusing specific treatment usually have the right to refuse such treatment.
I hope to have informed those who read this article of all the legal responsibilities that emergency medical responders face every time they go to work. Whoever reads this article and would like to know more about the legal responsibilities of emergency medical responders just surf the internet.