Over the past few weeks, many University offices, including UR Security, University Health Services and UR Medical Center Educational Resources met to discuss how to best implement the new Monroe-Livingston Regional Emergency Medical Services protocol, which requires intoxicated person treated by Emergency Medical Technicians to be transported to a hospital to receive further care.

“Essentially, the law itself didn’t change,” Director of UR Security Walter Mauldin said. “What has changed is that the documentation required to establish the situational awareness of a patient has been reinforced.”

He explained that the paperwork included more questions and sought to document the incident better, emphasizing that the first responder is responsible for a thorough assessment to determine if the patient can make an informed decision about whether he or she wishes to receive additional treatment.

“Does the person have the capacity at that point to understand what has happened to them? Do they have the understanding to take care of themselves?” Mauldin said.

“If those conditions don’t exist, then [the situation] lends itself to urge the person to a healthcare facility, in this case, Strong Memorial Hospital, where they have higher level training and equipment to do tests.”

This past weekend, UR’s River Campus Medical Emergency Response Team met with URMC Instructor and Medical Director of Emergency Medicine Erik Rueckmann, M.D., to clarify Release of Medical Aid procedure.

“Dr. Rueckmann led an interactive discussion outlining key issues pertaining to assessing patients and determining decisional capacity,” Director of Operations of River Campus MERT Laura Bailer said.

“The characteristics of decisional capacity must be present in all patients requesting not to be transported to the hospital,” she said.

Bailer continued to say that RMA should be given particular attention.

“With RMA being one of the highest incidents of liability in pre-hospital care, the patient’s health is always a concern,” she said. “Caution is always used before terminating care in the field.”

Mauldin agreed with Bailer’s understanding of the assessment.

“We’re back on track with this. [Patient care] continues to be a good judgment thing based on observation and documentation,” he said. “But it still emphasizes safety first.”

Squires is a member of the class of 2010.

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