Question: When a Patient Becomes Violent

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On Facebook a friend asked, “Are there any precautions an EMT can take in the event that their patient turns on them?”

And shared this link: CNN reporter bit 2 EMTs while in drunken rage

No Such Thing as a Violent Patient

A patient that turns violent is no longer a patient, even if intoxicated. The person is now an assailant and EMTs should consider retreat, concealment and cover, and defend themselves, if needed, as if their life depended on it. An assault on an EMT should be treated just as seriously as an assault on a police officer.

Unfortunately, around the world EMTs and paramedics are regularly threatened and harmed by the people they are called to treat. Sometimes the patient and sometimes patient’s family and other bystanders.

The National EMS Management Association has created a sample policy for organizations to follow in both prevention of and response to violence against EMS professionals. All EMS employers should train and prepare their providers for violent encounters and then respond appropriately and swiftly to threatened or actual violence against EMS providers.

One of many resources is the Facebook page, End EMS Violence

How else can EMTs and paramedics prepare for and respond to a patient that becomes violent?