Paramedics play a crucial role in an emergency medical situation. Patients are oftentimes in critical condition and may require care or treatment while en route to the hospital. However, a recent survey of 610 paramedics (317 who work in critical care transport) across the United States indicates that many are using tools or performing procedures for which they’ve never received training.
The survey, published in September 2013 in Air Medical Journal, asked paramedics what tools and skills they used while transporting patients and if they had received training for them.
Between 11 and 12 percent of the respondents had received no training on:
- devices that measure pressure inside the skull;
- chest tube insertion; and
- handling blood products.
Fourteen percent of those using neonatal incubators hadn’t been trained.
Medical Malpractice Involving Paramedics/Emergency Medical Technicians
The transportation of critical care patients by paramedics with little or no training on certain procedures or tools is disturbing. Oftentimes the skills they use could mean the difference between life and death. However, the ability to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a paramedic varies from each state. If a victim does have a case, he or she would have to prove the negligent act that resulted in harm.
Another hurdle that could be difficult to overcome is that governmental immunity may protect paramedics from being sued. Of course, there could be exceptions to this, depending on the circumstances. Although in some cases it might be difficult to hold a paramedic accountable when a lack of training causes further injury or death, it’s best to discuss the case with an attorney to gain a full understanding of one’s rights and options.
If you find yourself facing a similar scenario, set up a consultation with an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates.