EMS and taking pictures of incidents...

JROD

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I'm not in dispatch, so I can only report what I've hard...We received hundreds of calls in regard to animals being stranded...these calls are then forwarded to animal control.

Being an ALS responder in the EMS system, we typically respond to emergency calls that involve human life...I haven't reviewed the animal section lately, but I'm pretty sure thats how it goes...We don't call someone else for a situation we never encountered before (keep in mind this doesn't include high angle/low angle rescue, HAZMAT, or any other type of emergency response team that works with a fire dept.), so we don't expect animal control to call us for an animal situation they may have not seen before (although we would respond to help if necessary, although if animal control doesn't have an SOP for a given situation, odds are we don't have one either). After reading some of your prior posts, especially the one regarding never taking pics to document MOI, I would think you strongly believe in not doing anything without a strict policy stating its legitimacy. If this is correct, then running in to a burning building to retrieve a dog would probably be against your SOP, unless you have a SOP directly relating to that Emergency situation.

As far as responding to hostage situations go, we consider Scene Safety a priority. If the scene is not safe, then we will not enter...Or at least I won't let me crew enter...I'm big on scene safety...
 

ffemt8978

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Get back on topic and stay there.
 

nightstar22

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like the others have said, it could be for the moi. there is an amendment about taking pictures, bascially if it is in the public, then you can take a picture of it. however, there are moral issues of taking pictures of the patient. to me, this is wrong. i have always taken pictures of wreck scenes, but this has been after the patient is loaded. i am now the unofficial photographer for the volunteer fire department that i am on. my cheif has instructed me to get anywhere i possibly can, as long as i am not a danger.. lol..
if you are still curious why they took the pictures, just ask them. but do not do it in an accusing way.
 

fortsmithman

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Last year after I joined my service we were providing coverage for a snowcross race. One of the other members was video taping the event when one of the racers wiped out right in front of the rig. The member video taping it caught the incident on video. The doctor got to see the accident on tape so he new what happened. Other than that we don't take pictures.
 

WarDance

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I am on a SAR team and camera phones are really useful (if there is service). Sometimes the IC can't see what is going on at the scene of an avalanche, for example, so sometimes a picture can be taken and sent back down. The IC can then make suggestions on what should happen for the evac. The guys up there generally know what is the best thing to do but it always helps to have the IC's input since they are usually one of the most experienced team members. It can even be useful to take pictures of injuries and relay it to EMS at the base so they can make treatment suggestions or get ready for whatever we are bringing down.
 

sop

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On EMS runs, I am typically too busy to be taking pictures. However, I do take pictures at trainings, and if we are on a fire run, I tend to take pictures at those as well, unless there is a patient of some sort.

I give the pictures to one of the officers at the department, and he uses some of them in the annual banquet video. Other than that, they just get stored on a disc and are for my personal use, just like my family vacation pictures, or pictures of my son playing in the snow. I do not typically post pictures of actual incidents from work to facebook, myspace, or anywhere else on the internet. It isn't worth it to me to risk my job, or at the very least, having to answer an awfully large amount of questions to alot of people I would rather not be talking to. On the very rare occassion that I do get a picture I want to share for whatever reason, I make darn sure there aren't any visable addresses, patients that can be identified, etc.
How would you have time to take pictures if you are doing your job?
 

curt

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I'll say that using a personal or digital device is probably not the best course of action. The best idea I've seen in here is the Polaroid instant-photo statement since it's not stored on the camera, there's no copies unless you pocketed it, and it stays with the chart, meaning that it cannot possibly be used for anything besides documentation and reporting. You could probably even use your own personal Polaroid for it, just make sure that your employer will back you on that. It's easily defensible in court and if the media asks anyone involved or with half a brain, they're not going to be able to take it and run with it. It functions even better if you can avoid photographing identifying information or features.

As for written documentation of MOI facts, that's okay, but a picture works better in my opinion. People can interpret words differently, but there's only one way to interpret a photo.
 

CAOX3

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You should be able to describe mechanism, you dont need a picture.
 

rmellish

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You should be able to describe mechanism, you dont need a picture.
Don't need it necessarily, but we've snapped a couple pics of car wrecks before for the doc at the ER. Sometimes if it's a lengthy extrication you've got time.
 

DR_KSIDE

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If we have a full crew (two EMTs and a driver), if there is the time, or we might ask one of the officers of FF to snap a photo or two of the car itself that our pt is coming out of and one of the scene, our ER docs have requested these if possible so that they might have a better understanding (picture) of what the person might have been through. Since our docs have been seeing these, I have noticed more interventions being done, some as preventative measures.
 

CAOX3

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Why dont we just drag the wreckage to the ER with us?
 

Juxel

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As always, if you weren't taught to do something in EMT or Paramedic school, and if it is not in your job description, then you probably should not be doing it in the field. That goes for photography.
I strongly disagree. Ever had a patient who by mechanism of injury fits the serious or critical categories but is refusing to go? These are the patients that even if you talk into going to the hospital will downplay the severity of the accident to the hospital staff, potentially missing something because they don't have a good scope of the mechanism.

You can document all you want, but a picture is worth a thousand words. The last accident scene that I took a picture of my partner wanted to sign the patient, I talked him into going. Got back to the hospital 3 hours later and the doctor thanked me for taking the picture because that was his basis for CTing the patient and finding a liver laceration. This isn't to say they wouldn't have found the liver lac without my picture, but thanks to the picture they found it before the patient exhibited serious signs and symptoms.
 

AJ Hidell

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Congratulations if you work in a system where the hospital staff even listens to your report, much less wants to look at your pictures.
 

CAOX3

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Mechanism of injury in an auto accident held more water ten years ago. With todays improvement in safety technology, automobiles are supposed to come apart, crinkle and basically dismantle themselves. They are directing the force of the MVA away from the passenger compartment. Even minor MVA's today will usually have significant damaged to the shell of the vehicle. I am much more concerned with intrusion then exterior damage.

I guess if your MD's enjoy the pictures, then what the heck. We are forbidden to take any picture at an EMS scene.
 

BossyCow

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Why dont we just drag the wreckage to the ER with us?
I've actually done that.. but it was attached to the pt.
 

ErinCooley

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I think its incredibly tacky and in poor taste personally!

And, our company does not allow it. No questions asked, its a terminable offense.

And honestly, does a picture of wreckage help a doctor treat a patient more than briefly describing the incident?? Am I missing something here??
 

VentMedic

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I think its incredibly tacky and in poor taste personally!

And, our company does not allow it. No questions asked, its a terminable offense.

And honestly, does a picture of wreckage help a doctor treat a patient more than briefly describing the incident?? Am I missing something here??
Taking pictures (Polaroids) was a common practice in the 1980s and early 1990s where mechanism of injury was heavily studied and emphasized. Many good articles came out of some of those pictures but as technology and automobile engineering progressed, so did the knowledge about mechanism of injury.
 

ErinCooley

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Taking pictures (Polaroids) was a common practice in the 1980s and early 1990s where mechanism of injury was heavily studied and emphasized. Many good articles came out of some of those pictures but as technology and automobile engineering progressed, so did the knowledge about mechanism of injury.

I get that, and I get taking pics for training and/or evidence purposes. However, I see very little reason why an EMT or Paramedic would have use of a cell phone picture... other than to put them on the internet which I personally think gives our industry as a whole a bad name. For instance, look at what John Travolta just went through when his son died (granted it wasnt the exact same scenario).

I find it hard to believe that showing a doctor a picture of a squished car in the year 2009 would help them treat the patient more effectively than just saying "rollover w/ X' of intrusion on driver side" or "ejection following 3 rollovers at a high rate of speed." If a doc treating ME needed to see a picture to give me proper care, I would question his adequacy as a medical professional.
 
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JAM-EMT

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I agree Hospitals do like to see what happened, as well as other medics who like to discuss the incidents and what we did and could've done.
 

Mountain Res-Q

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Not too long ago I witnessed an EMS personnel in my city taking pictures of the incident he responded to (car collision, one fatality) with his camera phone. Obviously it wasn't for "evidence", as it's not the EMS' job to collect evidence. I'm pretty sure he snapped a few shots of the casualty as well.

What are your thoughts/opinions on this?

Also, what are the "rules" for these sorts of things in your areas?
I have a few problems with why s/he needs to take pictures. What are they gonna be used for? I have two different perspectives on this.

I haven't worked Ambulance in 3+ years (AMR). But the company training manual specificlly said that Cameras were not allowed to brought to work at all. The problem was that the amnual also spoke of the need to use our personal cell phones while at work to caontact dispatch and our supervisor. Obviously the rules were writen prior to Cell Phones all having cameras. but I do believe that it is helpful for the hospital to be able to see the MOI.

I currently work Search and Rescue, which follows a more "Law Enforcement set of rules. We are encouraged to carry cameras with us. If we see "clues" like tracks, etc. we are told to record them before disterbing them. Beyond that. we routinely take pictures of the operations for memory sake. Also, we commonly deal with the recovery of dead bodies. So, we are taking "crime scene" photos for the coroners and investigators. We give copies to the officals, but since we are sworn members of the Sheriff's Office, we often hold on to the originals for educational and memory purposes. However, if we were dealing with the care of a live patient I, as Medical Team Leader, would be pissed if one of my people were taking photoes instead of doing their job.
 

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