Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan from the Bible?
Was this the first description of prehospital care in history?
Nowadays being a Good Samaritan? For those of us who work in prehospital dedicated services this is the job. But what if you dont work in dedicated emergency services/ What if you normally work in a hospital or office yet during your normal daily life come across a prehospital emergency?
You have no formal emergency prehospital gear nor training yet you are the first on scene at an accident or medical crisis.
what are your legal obligations?
what are your ethical obligations?
Recently in West Australia a case from 2002 involving an off duty radiologist in a rural town and a car rollover was ruled upon by a medical tribunal.
Read about the case here
The legal aspects of this case are well described in this blog post
In Australia , Good Samaritan laws are codified to encourage members of public to render reasonable emergency assistance without fear of litigation. In the Northern Territory it is a criminal offence to “callously fail” to render such assistance if deemed reasonable and safe.
Read about Australian Good Samaritan laws here
here in Australia where remote accidents are frequent, it is an essential part of social well being that we are expected to render emergency assistance if safe and reasonable and registered medical practitioners in particular are expected to provide emergency care if possible. This then brings into the discussion the role of any medical training or the need for specific prehospital training and equipment.
My wife and I have both been in prehospital emergencies when off duty , without any specific gear. yes we have special training and this helps. We have purchased specific prehospital gear for our cars.
But I would expect any one with medical training to provide some basic emergency care without any specific gear. A shirt can be used for life saving haemostasis. An airway can be cleared by simply positioning. Notably it is the mental preparation for such emergencies that is the key. In the recent WA case and others similar, people have cited their terror and panic that prevented them from rendering immediate care. As Cliff Reid teaches, maybe it is using our greatest simulator, our mind, to prepare ourselves for such emergencies, that is going to yield the greatest benefits in these unexpected but devastating prehospital tragedies.