Next up is a story I found from Ohio and this is just about blasted stories here about drunken people. Why am I bringing up drunken people? Well, a couple of reasons. First off, you know I end every show with Scene Safety and BSI, it’s because I want you to keep in mind to remember that you need to keep scene safety as one of the things that you think about foremost not only at the beginning of every call but throughout every call and of course body-substance isolation is part of keeping yourself safe when dealing with patient care.

So, all of that is part of the process and this particular article coming out of Ohio. A woman who became highly intoxicated and combative with family members and neighbors in her residential community began fighting with police officers, was placed in the back of the police cruiser where she was still violent and combative and then she announced that she had overdosed on pills and they were ignoring her. So guess what? Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t but you know how this goes, we have to come in and check her out and take her to the hospital and make sure she didn’t overdose on things. Now, this woman had been combative and you say “oh, police are on scene. It’s safe”, right? Well, tell that to the paramedic who this woman head butted in the groin. Ouch! I’m serious! I don’t even want to contemplate that but you know, good thing she didn’t bite him, that’s all I got to say.

The problem is that we need to keep scene safety and awareness of what’s going on around us at all times and especially when we’re in cramped quarters in the back of an ambulance or maybe treating a patient who’s seated at the back of a police cruiser. We need to get close to our patients to assess and treat them effectively but we may not necessarily need to get so close that we need to get head-butted in the groin. Obviously, if this woman needed an IV or something, you’re going to get pretty close to her but certainly, when you’re just assessing a drunk individual from a distance, you can do a lot of your assessment from your seat across the ambulance from them. I’ve had a police officer between me and that individual if they are that combative. So, it’s something to keep in mind. Don’t assume just coz the police are on the scene that you’re going to be safe. Don’t assume that the police are standing next to you, you’re going to be safe because you never know when you could get head butted in the groin.

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This article has been featured in the news segment of the MedicCast podcast episode Behavioral and Psychological Patient Assessment for EMS and Episode 234.

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