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OFFICE EMERGENCY PRACTICE
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OFFICE EMERGENCY PRACTICE

PT. WALKS INTO THE OFFICE WITH BLOOD RUNNING DOWN THEIR ARM.. AS A MEDICAL ASSISTANT WHAT SHOULD I DO?
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You have to go by the policy of the doctor you work for.  You are an employee; he is the doctor.  If you are not sure what he wants you to do in that situation, ask and get clarification.  Ask ahead of time, so you know.

You posted this in the Medical Ethics forum, so I take it you are asking what people consider ethical.  Personally, I consider it to be unethical for a doctor to turn an established patient away under those circumstances  -- assuming the doctor is present in the office.  If it is not an established patient, and if the injury is not life-threatening, then probably it is okay to tell the person to go to the ER.  The doctor is running a private practice, not a free drop-in clinic for one and all.  If it is a life-threatening injury, then he should help the person if he can, regardless of whether it is his patient or not, and if the injury is too severe for him to help, then he has no alternative but to direct the person to the ER and perhaps call an ambulance for them.

I have experienced dropping in at my own PCP's office because I was nearby when I got hurt.  I was told by the receptionist that he was in a meeting with his business managers and that I should go to the emergency room.  I think that is wrong, but that's what happened.  He was my doctor, and I needed help.  I had injured my back, and I needed urgent care, but it was not life-threatening, and I did not require ER facilities.  And he was there.  I could have waited until he finished his meeting or until he at least got to a stopping point.  Because of that incident and also because of numerous other problems with that doctor, I changed PCPs, and I no longer go to him.
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How many times have you called a doctor with a question and gotten a menu with a list of options. The one that galls me is that if the situation is urgent to go to the ER. Thanks a lot, doc. I have a REAL doctor. He always get back to me when I call, and answers e-mails promptly. If I had a true emergency he would drop everything and talk to me to find out what was wrong.
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