EMT/Paramedic Law Refresher
Remember your EMT/Paramedic Program? You know that person that slept through most of their EMT class? Yea, you might be responsible for what they do.
Several years ago in my EMT-B program we got a very brief segment on our legal responsibilities while riding out on the truck. One quote from this article stuck with me more than the rest (though this is an awesome article an analysis by Mr. David Givot out in California.
“Case law has created an implicit duty to mitigate the substandard performance or outright incompetence of fellow providers. Simply put, the emerging legal trend is to hold all providers accountable for the failings of one.”
Lets get real for a minute, we’ve all had that slacker co-worker we’ve had to cover for; but, did you ever think you HAD to cover for them? Apparently case law (law created by judges as cases were tried in court) has established such a rule. This is where most laypersons who understand statutes but not the “common-law” (a formal name for case law) can impact them.
Now before you start to think “oh, this is California, it has no impact on me in Texas (or fill in your other favorite state’s name here)” WRONG! Many times where the states or other case-law is ambiguous, courts will look to decisions made by judges in other states–including California–before making a decision. Though it’s not what we call a “controlling case” it is “persuasive” upon the court and has a much better chance for getting the nod from the Judge than an “but it’s not my fault” argument.
If you’re an EMT, Paramedic, or Medical Director it is definitely worth the few minutes to take a look at this article. It just might save you a couple headaches and change your next interview and personnel retention decision.
Read the Mr. Givot’s article here.