[Libs-Or] when to call 911 for medical intervention when patron says no

Jane Tucker jtucker at astoria.or.us
Mon Nov 16 12:13:59 PST 2015

Astoria's instruction is to call 911 regardless.  There are liability issues that might apply to the city.  The ambulance carries legal forms that indicate the person refused assistance and Medix personnel have the medical training to document the situation accurately.

Once staff followed procedure and called "regardless" when a woman suddenly turned white in the face and began to faint.  Later, we learned it had been a sudden, life threatening situation - the staff, who may have been uncomfortable making the call, literally saved her life.

(I would also add that my spouse is a trained EMT.  He tells me they want the call because they never truly know what is happening, like a heart attack perhaps, until they assess the patient.  He also advises me to keep an eye on bathrooms and to be generally aware if someone has been in one awhile - people who feel ill can seek them out for privacy.)

Jane Tucker, MS
Director, Astoria Public Library
450 Tenth Street
Astoria, Oregon  97103
jtucker at astoria.or.us<mailto:jtucker at astoria.or.us>

From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Carol Dinges
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2015 9:41 PM
To: Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney
Cc: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] when to call 911 for medical intervention when patron says no

We, too, have been told to call 911 regardless of whether the patron wants us to if there's reason to believe it might be needed - otherwise, we could be held liable if the patron did, in fact, need medical help.  They can tell the EMT's to take a hike, but there will be a record of that if needed in the future.

Carol Dinges
Library Director

On Nov 15, 2015, at 1:11 PM, Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney <kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org<mailto:kbrodbeck-kenney at lincolncity.org>> wrote:
We recently had a staff first aid/CPR training, and what we were told is that if the patron is refusing medical intervention but there are concerns that it might be life-threatening, we should call 911 anyway and let them know that the individual is refusing transport, but we've observed x, y, and z and think they need medical intervention.

Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney, MLIS
Library Director
Driftwood Public Library
801 SW Hwy 101, #201
Lincoln City, OR 97367
541-996-1251 (desk)
541-996-1262 (fax)

>>> Maureen Cole <mcole at ci.oregon-city.or.us<mailto:mcole at ci.oregon-city.or.us>> 11/14/2015 12:18 PM >>>
Hi everyone:
Yesterday we had a situation in which a person, with a scary but according to her non-life-threatening medical condition, had what appeared to be a seizure; however, she requested that we not call an ambulance. That request went out the window when she appeared to be having trouble breathing. But it raised the very real question-when do you call for medical assistance against a patron's wishes?

Obviously, we all have to make judgement calls based on the information at hand. In addition to the person with the medical need, we have to think about the rest of the library. But, in your experience do you have any wisdom that helps quide you when this comes up? I believe all medical personnel would say call them immediately; what are your thoughts as a library employee charged with the safety of all patrons?

Thanks for your collective wisdom and feedback. Have a great weekend!

Maureen Cole
mcole at orcity.org<mailto:mcole at orcity.org>
Library Director
Oregon City Public Library
606 John Adams St.
Oregon City, Oregon 97045
503-657-8269 ext. 1010 Direct phone
503-657-3702 fax
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