The information below provides EMTs with some common complaint findings that are of concern and in violation of the regulations. Please take note of the following issues while practicing as an EMT.
11. Allowing/ encouraging a patient to walk to cot or ambulance.
I disagree. I do not think they were in the absolute wrong. What if they did not have the proper equipment to carry a large man down the stairs? Why risk their backs with a backboard down three flights of narrow stairs? WHat if they had dropped him? What if mid way down they couldn't handle it anymore? At least they walked him down carefully. Sometimes there is no other option.
But, if you do let your patient walk for whatever reason, you need to document it and NOT lie about it when questioned.
What if the patient, wanting to keep his dignity, insisted on walking down the stairs? Pride gets in the way of a lot of things.
That, I totally agree with!
I have had many patients like this also! There are way to many factors and this is such a one sided news story like all the rest. You can already see the lawsuit brewing on the horizon. Lets not judge these medics, but take this as a lesson in proper documentation. Its paramount.
So, based on most replies, I take it that most "professionals" here would have walked this man down? You have the stair chair, man power, and a man having a heart attack on the third floor... and you walk them down? I disagree, (even if the man refused to go don this way, because our communications skills should have been employed as advocates for our patients health), but fine, if that is your companies commonly accepted malpractice... eh... practice. But, if that is in your medical opinion the right call to make, your defense when called to the mat is what... to lie? The obviously knew that what they did was wrong because their paperwork (completed enroute to the hospital - not months later) was a lie and a crime. Yes I agree that walking a patient is often easier and a better course of action with some patients (especially the obstinate ones) but NOT IN THIS CASE. Stabbing chest pain and dying heart muscle and you allow the patient to walk down 3 flights? You make the argument "what if we had dropped him?" What if he had coded as he took his first step of the third floor? Yes, lifting is dangerous for us and the patient, but if we are competent in our lifting techniques and strive to have additional hands (the FF's) the risk to the patient and ourselves is reduced and is preferable to LETTING A MAN HAVING A MI (stressed heart, shortness of breath, imminent death) WALK DOWN THREE FLIGHTS. Just because these folks were fellow EMSers doesn’t mean we should automatically defend them... they practiced piss poor medicine. If this was your father having an MI would you walk them to the ambulance?
For me in my area:
I live in the mountains. Houses are built to fit the terrain, which often means redwood stairs that extend 1-3 stories up to the front door. The stairs are usually old and rotting after 20 years of little care and the scorcing summer sun and hevy snow. They are usually covered in et slippery pine needles, ice, rain, or snow. They are no more than 3 feet wide. I could never, ever, see myself walking a heart attack patient down them. That's why god invented FF's. Just kiddin'. But really, yea I agree that their are circumstances where not carrying you patient down those stairs is the right call for safety sake. BUT NOT IN THIS CASE. If anyone here would walk a MI patient down 3 flights when other options existed for moving him, then falsify reports, and then lie over and over again... get the hell out of EMS now before I hunt you down and beet you with your dust covered stair chair...
So, since you've got all the answers, what would you do if your patient refused to be carried down the stairs and insisted on walking down them?
Oh, ok. We shouldn't lie about people who lie on their documentation? I have this one regular patient who is able to, with assistance, slide from his wheel chair to the gurney but gets lifted via draw sheet into and from the dialysis chair. Guess what, it get's documented that he is assisted to the gurney and moved via draw sheet from the gurney.
If it had been documented properly, then I would agree with giving them the benefit of the doubt. Now lying on both whether fire was on scene AND on using the stair chair? Can someone get me my pitchfork and torch please?