Two leg amputations after 'incomplete' assessment by paramedic

DrParasite

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A Paramedic and EMT team arrived at the scene and assessed the man's leg but did not remove his sock. They decided not to transfer him to hospital. The next day, the man awoke with severe pain, a blue foot, and required two amputations to his leg. "this incident was adversely affected because of challenges in the inter-professional relationship of the personnel who attended"

 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
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A Paramedic and EMT team arrived at the scene and assessed the man's leg but did not remove his sock. They decided not to transfer him to hospital. The next day, the man awoke with severe pain, a blue foot, and required two amputations to his leg. "this incident was adversely affected because of challenges in the inter-professional relationship of the personnel who attended"

Rough. The NZ system has several provisions for provider initiated non-transport, most commonly arranging an "urgent" visit to the patient's physician. Different education as well (base level paramedic has a bachelor's degree), but kind of tough to fall back on education when you don't actually assess the patient's complaint and are apparently fighting with your partner.
 

CCCSD

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So much for other EMS that’s reputed to be MUCH better than the US...
 

E tank

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BobBarker

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We're smart enough to not admit guilt prior to the lawsuit.
Oh I get it but the fact that that’s standard practice is ****ty. Sometimes a simple heartfelt apology from a government entity or employee is enough to avoid a hefty lawsuit
 

E tank

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Oh I get it but the fact that that’s standard practice is ****ty. Sometimes a simple heartfelt apology from a government entity or employee is enough to avoid a hefty lawsuit
...and when truly merited, just the right thing to do...
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
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We're smart enough to not admit guilt prior to the lawsuit.
My understanding is that tort laws are very very different in australasia.

So much for other EMS that’s reputed to be MUCH better than the US...
I think one case is hardly something to draw sweeping conclusions from.
 

EpiEMS

Forum Deputy Chief
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My understanding is that tort laws are very very different in australasia.
I never knew this!

Fascinating concept:
In New Zealand, patients seek compensation for medical injuries not through malpractice suits as in the United States, but rather through a no-fault compensation system. Injured patients receive government-funded compensation, in turn relinquishing the right to sue for damages arising from personal injury except in rare cases of reckless conduct. - Commonwealth Fund, 2006
 

RedBlanketRunner

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"Australian Negligence cases use a 'salient features' framework to determine whether a duty of care was owed by the defendant to the plaintiff."

According to an Aus. associate of mine, expression of care, concern or condolences is normally not a salient feature and does not constitute admission of responsibility or culpability. The onus is on the wronged party to establish otherwise.
 

CarSevenFour

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I always, ALWAYS, get called a liar with this story of a simple professional apology. It was back in 1992 and Labor Day was fast approaching, after having gone to the dentist for a root canal. The next morning I was really sick, huge fever, aching all over, my face is swollen, pus coming out my eye, difficulty breathing, and rushed off for emergency maxillo-facial surgery in the O.R. Even at that, the O.R. was full and they couldn't get me in right away, so I lay on an isolation bed with pain so bad it didn't hurt much anymore and I was beginning to feel like I was floating away, wondering at what point my face was going to split open from the heavy swelling. The doctor finally came in and said they were ready. On the way to the O.R., he was telling my wife that she had to prepare herself because survival wasn't likely. Never forget that the patient you think is too far gone to hear, actually can. I didn't freak out at his words, I just thought, "You're wrong, tonight's not my night to die." I just knew it. The IV anesthesia was a godsend and I was soon in the world of black, until I heard a voice, far off, but becoming clearer. Waking up, I thought, "Thank you, God, it's over..."

Well, it wasn't. The anesthesiologist was saying, "I can't find my landmarks, everything's shifted. I can't intubate..." I opened my eyes and his face was betraying extreme distress. This was a man who was helping me very late in his career and had seen a lot of emergencies in his time. He's got the tube in his hand, right in front of my face and I had this thought pop into my head, like someone was inside, telling me, "Go! Just breathe in the tube! Don't swallow it or it will go in the wrong way!" So I did and thank God he had a good grip on the ET tube and it just seemed to pop right in and everything shortly went black again. When I woke up afterward, the anesthesiologist was waiting at the bedside and offered an abject apology for not being able to complete the intubation. He told me had never seen anything like that happen where the patient took control and got it done. I told him it was ok; it worked out well in the end and I'd have a hell of a story to tell my wife! Later, my colleagues told me I should have sued both him and the dentist. But, jeez, in that instant of apologizing, I saw a distraught human being, knowing that he was losing me and would have had to start cutting because we were at the point of no return. I've had medics laugh me out of the room saying that, "It's impossible! You can't intubate yourself, physically impossible." Think outside the box, or die. I knew the procedure, what needed to be done and I was tanked up real good on Fentanyl and Versed. After he apologized, there was no way I would ever think of suing him or the hospital. Even at that, I had to take a second mortgage on my house to pay the medical bills totaling 14 grand because the insurance company refused to pay a penny due to my distress being secondary to a "dental mishap" that was not covered.

That must be human nature, to let bygones be. These were just guys doing the best they could under extreme circumstances and the apology brought him down from the level of a detached medical expert and scientific professional to a sweating man wracked with guilt because he couldn't do something he normally could perform 'in his sleep'. One thing I do know is the old saw they repeat in EMT classes a lot, is true, "The life you save may be your own."
 

ffemt8978

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Knock it off or become the focus of my complete and undivided attention.
 

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