Arrested For Protecting Lives

What happens when hospital policy contradicts what law enforcement officials think is the rule? What happens when nurses (or EMTs) are trying to do their job and act as a patient advocate and get arrested for it? Sounds far-fetched right? A medical technician getting arrested for doing his/her job protecting the health and wellbeing of a patient? Really?

And yet it happened. And it was videotaped.

Just a few months ago, a Utah nurse was placed under arrest and forcibly removed from the hospital she works at because the arresting officer didn’t agree with policy. The officer believed the nurse was obstructing justice. And placed her in handcuffs and escorted her into his cruiser.

Turns out the nurse was correct, the officer overstepped his authority and while doing so violated several city and department policies, including those pertaining to arrests, ethics and officer conduct.

A few years ago, in Chula Vista California, a firefighter was arrested during a freeway accident as he tried to aid victims. The firefighter was handcuffed and placed in the back of the police squad car. The arresting officer believed that where the firefighter had parked his fire truck impeded traffic. However, the firefighter was following protocol and was using the firetruck as a buffer to protect the ambulance, the injured victims and the emergency medical technicians from harm.

In both of these cases the arrest of medical personal doing their jobs to protect injured victims was usurped by law enforcement officials who were misinformed about the law or didn’t take into account the larger picture.

So why do I share these two stories with you?

I share these stories to give you an insight into what happens when trained medical professionals have encounters with law enforcement officials who may not understand emergency medical protocols.

What if in both the above situations the injured could not receive proper treatment because the arresting officer removed the person responsible from the scene, what would happen then? Would the officer then be responsible for the care of the injured? Or would the injured have to fend for themselves as the officer drove away from the scene with the nurse, doctor or emergency medical technician? What if you were that nurse or firefighter and you were arrested for doing your job? What if you were that injured victim and your condition was made worse because the nurse, doctor or EMT was removed from your care?

Police brutality incidents are thankfully rare, but not as rare as we would all like them to be. Unless there is strong evidence, like a video recording, it will be a serious challenge for a victim of brutality to successfully prosecute an action for damages against police officers and the officers’ employers. The police officer is the person the public relies on to uphold the law and provide protection from crime. The public is generally aware of the potential for police misconduct and are more than willing to set things right when abuses can be proven. Still, law enforcement prevails in two out of every three cases over citizens who claim officers have physically injured them.

If you have been involved in an injury incident involving excessive use of force, and you have strong credible evidence to back up your claim of a serious injury, please call and speak with one of our experienced lawyers. Call the Law Offices Of David W Holub at (219)736-9700 today.