Friday, February 19, 2010

Dangers of Refusals

So as some of you know I live in NC. Last summer a football player died after a paramedic allowed him to refuse treatment. You can read the article here. After reading the call report that was available here I began to wonder what this medic was thinking. So after several months, the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. You can read it here. Its pretty compelling.

This whole situation got me to thinking about all the patients that I have let refuse. I try to transport every patient because I am not a doctor and they called me for a reason. I never like letting patients refuse because it is such a liability. This paramedic is in serious trouble if you ask me. First it is NEVER ok to let a minor sign a refusal....ever. Based only on the information available, I would have transported him to the hospital due to his presenting complaints, history of asthma and because I could not get a hold of his parents.

I think the take home message is simple, be careful when letting patients refuse your care. If you exhaust all options, then document the living snot out of your report.