Something that comes up fairly regularly in discussions or stray comments from healthcare practitioners is how to handle off-duty situations where you come across someone in physical distress in need of help. Could be serious, maybe not. The central questions that come up are “Should you take action and to what degree?” and “Since you’re trained, do you have an obligation to act?” At first, I was quite disturbed to hear so many of today’s practitioners commenting that under no circumstances would they physically intervene, citing legal or personal endangerment issues. This runs the gamut from Nurse’s Aides to Doctors! This very often included life and death situations; Far worse they also often went so far as to say they wouldn’t even BEGIN an assessment. Based on nothing more than “Nobody knows I’m trained so I don’t have to act,” they would literally turn their backs and walk away. Even stopping to learn more about the situation; to determine if a higher level of care was needed might imply they were committing to actually take action. Horrors! Feel free to visit st louis jacob crocker for additional information.
Many of our healthcare practitioners have been trained in some form of First Aid or another. There was a time, and it wasn’t too long ago that that was not so. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s lots of people were dying for no reason. People were dropping dead, getting run over, shot, choking, bleeding out, seizing, or whatever and NOBODY WAS HELPING because no one knew how. What could have been ameliorated by simple interventions became fatal maladies. When I was in Grammar School, one of my classmates (coincidentally the ONLY boy my age I ever bullied!) “choked to death on a chicken bone”. The memory of that both haunted me and drove me into the profession of EMS in a weird sort of way because as I got older I came to learn that if you had the right knowledge, maybe that wouldn’t have had to have happened and maybe, someday, I could actually PREVENT something like that from happening.
In the 1950’s, some people got together, sacrificing time and energy, and started to institute some changes. The idea was to make it so life-saving skills became available to the public. Commensurate with that came a push to raise the standards of emergency medical care as a whole. The idea was to make it so people who for no reason of their own (or even if self-inflicted!) got wounded, they’d get help. They wrote up manuals, began courses and set up progressive levels of certifications so the people who did get trained were competent. It seemed to be the civilized thing to do at the time and the American National Red Cross led the charge. All of a sudden, there was this wave of people, scattered throughout the populace, that could actually DO SOMETHING to help their stricken neighbors! This was all about knowledge allowing you to step beyond your fears and into action so people didn’t need to die needlessly.
Many who lived during the time that no one knew how, now had the knowledge to make a difference. They felt like it was a sacred trust. Walking by someone in trouble wasn’t even in the equation; especially for someone trained and working in healthcare! How could it be? It would negate the intention of ALL those people who came before to make sure that such knowledge would never be withheld from anyone again! Intervention now became a trained citizen’s duty.