WELCOME TO THE MEDICAL ETHICS COMMUNITY: This Patient-To-Patient Community is for discussions relating to Medical Ethics issues such as Abortion; Genetic Engineering; End of Life Issues; Off-Label Prescribing;
I was very recently buned over 50% of my right arm with Sulfuric, Nirtric, and Hudrochloric acids. I very nearly begged the First responder EMS team for some pain control.( my skin was literally boiling on my arm) to which the man responded "I am sorry sir but Poison Control say's absolutely not. Well I thought this odd but was hurting too badly to argue with a medical professional. So I suffered in NEAR silence for the hour and fifteen minute transport to the local hospital. upon arrival a nurse administered some morphine to which i asked if she was sure it was not too soon after exposure to be giving me drugs? She looked at me like I had three heads and said "sir in my line of work when someone gets burned like this we find the sooner we administer pain control the better for everyone.
I would say you have been unless there is a specific interaction with morphine with any of the toxic elements you were exposed to and I have not heard of that. Write to the director of the hospital administration (certified mail, return receipt to insure a response) and document your complaint in writing with as much detailed information as possible so they can investigate to see what happenned and how that should be addressed. By law they must follow up.
Discrimination and inadequate medical care are not necessarily the same thing. You needed pain medication and did not get it, and the answer you were given at the time does not necessarily make a lot of sense. But to conclude that you were discriminated against requires knowledge that the first responder deliberately withheld something helpful that he could have given you. Furthermore, it would require evidence that his not treating your pain was based on personal and inappropriate reasons of his own and that it was not because he had good reason to think that giving you pain medication might harm you.
I can understand that you are upset that you were hurting, and nothing was done for the pain until you got to the hospital. But there is a lot of missing information. Do you know for a fact that the First Responder even had pain meds available to give? Very often, first responders are firefighters or basic EMTs who are not licensed to give any medications except oxygen. I know that when I was a basic EMT, I could not even give an aspirin.
I support you in looking into the matter. It is too late for the answers to matter for your pain, but getting to the bottom of it might help someone else in a similar situation in the future. There may be a need for the first responders to have more education and training, if nothing else. If they have nothing to give for pain, then they need to know how to kindly and truthfully answer patients who are in pain and are asking for help.
I wouldn't go in with guns blazing, though. I would see if I couldn't get some answers by being nice, first. You may have been given a puzzling, perhaps even dumb, or possibly untruthful answer to your request for pain meds. But it may also be the case that you were given everything the first responder had to give in the way of pain control, which was nothing.
When I was a basic EMT, only the paramedics (then known as Advanced EMT's, now known as EMT-Paramedics) did have priviledges to administer morphine, but only for chest pain that was thought to be due to a heart attack. A broken leg, no. A burn, no. Migraine headache, no. Lightning strike, no. Bleeding ulcer, no. Amputation, no. And, as I mentioned above, basic EMT's could not administer any drug but oxygen. Nowadays, there are three levels of EMT certification, but it might still be the case that none of them can administer pain medication for a burn, even a paramedic.
So, if PELEITO's emergency was a situation in which the first responder was not licensed to administer pain medication, it would have been nice if he had simply said that. It also could be that he called Poison Control about the acid exposure and that Poison Control said not to try to administer anything -- meaning, as an antidote to the acid, which is a standard kind of thing that they say, if in fact there is no antidote for a particular chemical -- and the first responder garbled that into a response to PELEITO's question about pain medication.
Also, it it was the case that the first responder had no authority to administer pain medication, it would have been nice if the nurse had known that and simply stated it, rather than acting like it was crazy that it was not done.
To me, it sounds like there may have been more of a failure of communication, rather than a failure of treatment. I hope PELEITO will update us on what he found out.
For a paramedic to administer morphine sulfate outside of his/her standing orders, even though they carry the drug, is a dismissable offense. The restrictions by the protocol cannot be overriden by radio. Once used documentation of the use must be provided before a new vial is issued.
Most EMS paramedic protocols only permit morphine sulfate to be given to cardiac patients, and then only in small amounts.
The nurse was out-of-line and out-of-her-pay-grade to cause this trouble.
I agree with ILADVOCATE, I have a situation somewhat similar to yours where a friend of mine was forcefully catheterized. If my friend was an adult he might have been able to refuse the catheter and therefore he might have been discriminated against based upon his age. If mailing the director will prompt an investigation then I would say that's your best bet. That's something were going to do.
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.