Patient is armed

DragonClaw

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The thread was started along the lines of we respond to a patient down who is altered or unconscious and during our assessment a firearm is located, what would you do?

In my area PD is not routinely sent out on medical calls. If we call them it can take anywhere from a minute to 30 minutes for them to get to us. So I can leave the scene because of the gun but doing so will leave this patient without medical attention for possibly 30 minutes. I could continue my assessment and leave the gun where it is, however I will never advocate for leaving an altered or unconscious patient armed. The likelihood they could become responsive enough to grab it is too risky in my book. The last option is I could remove the firearm and secure it and then continue with my patient care.
A medic personally told me about a time where a gang member got shot by a rival gang member. I guess the police did not search the patient, he woke up in the back of the ambulance, pulled a pistol out of his waistband and shot the medic. Most likely due to strange men standing over him and him having no idea what was going on He showed me the scar. Now, that's a slightly different situation, but I do think of it sometimes.
 

MSDeltaFlt

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The thread was started along the lines of we respond to a patient down who is altered or unconscious and during our assessment a firearm is located, what would you do?

In my area PD is not routinely sent out on medical calls. If we call them it can take anywhere from a minute to 30 minutes for them to get to us. So I can leave the scene because of the gun but doing so will leave this patient without medical attention for possibly 30 minutes. I could continue my assessment and leave the gun where it is, however I will never advocate for leaving an altered or unconscious patient armed. The likelihood they could become responsive enough to grab it is too risky in my book. The last option is I could remove the firearm and secure it and then continue with my patient care.
If law enforcement is on scene I let them handle the weapon. If they're not I still don't handle the weapon. I will transport the patient and let security at the receiving handle the weapon.
 

DesertMedic66

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If law enforcement is on scene I let them handle the weapon. If they're not I still don't handle the weapon. I will transport the patient and let security at the receiving handle the weapon.
IMPO that seems like a huge risk that can easily be mitigated by other simple means.
 

Tigger

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Ideally law enforcement deals with it, unfortunately they aren't on most of our calls where guns are found. Most times the firearm is not a relevant detail to the call type. People with CCWs also get hurt and sick, I'm not waiting 20 minutes for the cops to take a handgun in it's holster out of someone's pants. It isn't a bomb, and this coming from someone who is not particularly into guns.

Altered patients with a non-psych complaint have shot responders in the past. https://www.firerescue1.com/fire-ems/articles/52628018-Ark-firefighter-shot-killed-on-EMS-call/
 

DrParasite

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A medic personally told me about a time where a gang member got shot by a rival gang member. I guess the police did not search the patient, he woke up in the back of the ambulance, pulled a pistol out of his waistband and shot the medic. Most likely due to strange men standing over him and him having no idea what was going on He showed me the scar. Now, that's a slightly different situation, but I do think of it sometimes.
that sounds..... interesting.... and disturbing..... where and when did this happen? I would love to see the news article about it.

Paramedic have been shot by armed patients before: https://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/New-Details-Revealed-In-Ambulance-Shooting-217605601.html
 

DragonClaw

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that sounds..... interesting.... and disturbing..... where and when did this happen? I would love to see the news article about it.

Paramedic have been shot by armed patients before: https://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/New-Details-Revealed-In-Ambulance-Shooting-217605601.html
To make myself look fake, honestly, I don't have an official news story. The guy was older, so I don't think it was recent. Could be before I was born for all I know. Could be be full of crap? Yes. Do I think he is? No. All I have is an anecdote.

I don't remember the guys name or anything. :^
 

MSDeltaFlt

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IMPO that seems like a huge risk that can easily be mitigated by other simple means.
Maybe I skipped a few steps regarding scene safety. So let me be as precise as possible for our young OP regarding scene safety regarding this situation or any other situation anyone might encounter.

The term "scene safety" is not a red flag meaning for you to run away. It is more of a yellow flag requiring you to assess the situation. As you approach the scene you are to ask yourself, "Is the scene safe? Or is it unsafe?"

If it is safe then proceed, not with blinders on or with paranoid eyes, but with your eyes open being aware of your surroundings. Because as the other experienced providers on this forum can attest scene safety can change on you at a moment's notice. So just be aware.

If the scene appears to be unsafe assess further. Is it truly unsafe? Or is it merely perceived to be unsafe? If it is merely perceived to be unsafe then address the perception and continue to proceed with the aforementioned situational awareness. Usually it is the result of someone's fears or misinterpretation. A healthy dose of "Ooh-sah" can go a long way.

If it is unsafe then determine if there is anything within your scope of practice and your company's job description that you can do to make the scene safe? If there is then make the scene safe and still continue with aforementioned situational awareness.

If there isn't anything you can do to make the scene safe then pause or make a tactical retreat and either call for or wait for those who can make the scene safe.

Bare in mind that these decisions happen quickly. They happen either enroute to the scene or within a few seconds to a couple of minutes after arriving on scene.

Basically you are to do your job, let others do their job, always evaluate/continue to reevaluate, and "Ooh-sah".
 

StCEMT

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Why would I wait for police who aren't there? I'm plenty comfortable handling weapons without cops present and I have a lock box that I can put it in. You don't have to be an expert to safely remove it.
 

PotatoMedic

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If the patient is armed, then that is a normal finding and I don't recommend unarming them as you may be arrested and sued. If you find the patient unarmed you may need a few tourniquets.

Ok I'm leaving now...
 

RocketMedic

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Texan here. Lots of patients have guns. I leave them at home, with family, etc. if a CCW, I politely inform them that they can leave their gun at home or wherever safe and appropriate but that it will not be with them during their healthcare adventure. If unconscious, it gets secured and turned over to appropriate personnel as circumstances dictate. NOT family on scene in most cases, not putting a live weapon into a stressful situation when bad news might be coming.

Also a pain to put on a LUCAS with a 45 in a chest rig.
 

DesertMedic66

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Texan here. Lots of patients have guns. I leave them at home, with family, etc. if a CCW, I politely inform them that they can leave their gun at home or wherever safe and appropriate but that it will not be with them during their healthcare adventure. If unconscious, it gets secured and turned over to appropriate personnel as circumstances dictate. NOT family on scene in most cases, not putting a live weapon into a stressful situation when bad news might be coming.

Also a pain to put on a LUCAS with a 45 in a chest rig.
That’s why I prefer 9mm
 

DrParasite

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but that it will not be with them during their healthcare adventure.
Interesting.... in the great state of texas, where everyone has a firearm, you are refusing to treat and transport a legally armed CCW holder, because they refuse to give up their firearm that they are legally allowed to have.
 

DragonClaw

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Interesting.... in the great state of texas, where everyone has a firearm, you are refusing to treat and transport a legally armed CCW holder, because they refuse to give up their firearm that they are legally allowed to have.
Yeah, it's not illegal to go into an ambulance with a gun. And being Texan, can confirm many of us have guns. Heck, even my guns have guns.
 

RocketMedic

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Interesting.... in the great state of texas, where everyone has a firearm, you are refusing to treat and transport a legally armed CCW holder, because they refuse to give up their firearm that they are legally allowed to have.
Yes, because they don't need to be armed (excepting legitimate duties) in a health-care setting. Hospitals are 30.06/07 zones, so it's not like it's legal or advisable to have it inside those facilities; the ambulance is a practical extension of that environment.

They can be legally armed...until the medicine starts. Then, I want as few lethal tools around them as possible, because I don't know how they're going to react, and I really don't want or need a gun to my head.
 

StCEMT

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I'm about as pro gun as it gets and even I have told people to leave various weapons before we leave. It's just another thing I have to remember to inform staff of and I have enough **** to worry about as it is. I'm a believer in not creating more (unnecessary) work for myself.
 

DrParasite

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I knew this topic was discussed recently... here were some other opinions on this topic:
I’m amazed at all the different responses to what to do with a CCW holder and their weapon. If PD isn’t around you transport the patient with it. Everywhere I’ve worked you can’t refuse transport because they have a firearm. I get that firearms can be unsettling to those who aren’t familiar with them, but it’s not like in the news where the mere presence of a firearm is going to lead to bad things happening. If you have an altered patient if it’s safe you try to remove the firearm, but sometimes you have to just work around it and try to keep the patient from pulling it out. Oh and just an FYI just because PD is on scene doesn’t mean the patient isn’t going to pull out the firearm and try and shoot someone either.
and
In many states that would be a felony, in some states that is a justifiable reason for armed patient to shoot you. If the specific ambulance service has a policy against firearms in the ambulance, you can likely refuse service. If they don't, then I dont particularly care, nor do plan to enforce hospital policy if I don't work for them.
and
But that's all predicated on the patient being Altered. Most trauma patients I've transported in reality have been BLS, isolated, A&Ox4.
Someone who is not altered, just talk to them. If you're truly that uncomfortable that you feel a need to lock up the firearm, just ask them.
But if they decline, and you do not have a written policy at your service (or even a local or state law you can name), then quite frankly your feelings do not matter. We're professionals, just treat the patient, not get hung up on something that was a non issue until you made it an issue. Especially if you're in an area where its routine and normal to carry.

If ever in doubt, you can always call your Supervisor and ask them.
 
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