Or he…I dunno.

What I do know is that the Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman situation has got us right back at each other’s throats just in time for the weather to turn nice (sorry Kansas, I didn’t mean it that way).  With the release of some video of the suspect in the police station soon after the incident surfacing, suddenly everyone is a medical expert.  Trouble is, there is only one document that can solve this problem of “was his nose broken and head bleeding?”


The PCR.


According to reports the suspect sustained injuries and was given “first aid” in the back of the police car by paramedics.

Now, because it’s the “media machine’ we have to assume everything specific is actually vague, right?  So it may have been a BLS unit, a police officer/EMT or a full fledged ALS response unit.

Despite your preconceptions about the case, because you DO have one regardless of the facts, imagine yourself on this response: (I designed it this way, this isn’t how it happened)

PD requesting ALS unit code 3 for GSW victim.  On scene they advise the victim is DOA but another person, in the back of the police car in handcuffs, needs medical attention.  Your partner confirms the DOA while you attend to the person in the police car.

After assessing his injuries, what does your chart include?  That he is in the police car?  handcuffed?  Is he in custody?  Under arrest?  What about your physical assessment?  Is it any less complete because he’s sitting in the back of a police car at night?  Do you move him to the ambulance?  Do you bandage wounds?  Do you clean wounds?  Do you clean clothes?

After deciding a refusal of care or no indication for transport, how is this documented?  Refusal? AMA? It depends on the injuries, sure, but if the patient is handcuffed in the back of the police car, does your system have a cut and dry policy for who can sign for them?

All these questions of what happened when and to what severity are hinging on what could possibly be a poor chart.  A chart that will not only be seen in court, but the way things are going, will be plastered all over FOX News and MSNBC for years.

Writing your chart for CYA takes on a whole new meaning these days.  Do it right. Every time.  You never know when a seemingly straight forward case hangs a hard right turn and crashes into a wall.


I’ll leave comments open if they focus on the importance of documentation in an EMS reference.  If I start to see a “debate” of the race-baiting, racist, self defense, stand your ground law, gun nut, 2nd amendment hater BS this has turned into I’m closing comments.  Let’s talk EMS here folks, sheesh.

Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Why not leave a comment or subscribe to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader?