Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Two girls and a two bikes

For those of you that are interested in a) Girls, b) Cycling and c) Travelling long distances until you destroy your knees, then please drop in on this blog. My good friend Abbi and her good friend Kirt are currently pedaling their way across France and on into Spain. They'll complete over 1,000Km and will both, I imagine, need medical attention when they get home!

I'm their official 'remote medic', so on-call for them should they encounter any difficulties. And by that I mean physical injury... or French boys.

Give them your support please!



Anonymous said...

Hi Stu

this might sound stupid but what exactly does a "remote medic" do and how did you end up doing it?? Does it mean you follow them in a car throughout France and stay with them 24/7?? Sorry if that's a stupid question but English isn't my first language ;-)

Leah x

Anonymous said...

Hi, I really enjoy reading your blog! My friend is also a paramedic and I was talking to him about his job. He works for the LAS and has similar experiences to yours in that he has to deal with far too many drunks and time wasters! In one conversation I was having with him he told me that if he was off duty and saw someone in need of medical assistance he would call an ambulance but he wouldn't step in and help even if it meant he could save their life because he wouldn't be insured. He told me that he would probably lose his job if he did. I was shocked by this - I can't imagine how he could stand by and watch someone die knowing he could save them. I was also shocked that by saving someone's life (albeit off duty) he could potentially end up losing his job.

I am curious to know your thoughts on this. Would you help someone who needed your help if you were off duty? Or would the possibility of getting into trouble/getting sued/losing your job be a sufficient deterrent to warrant you not offering assistance? Is my friend right in saying that the repercussions for helping someone whilst he is off duty could result in him being dismissed?

Xf said...


Bless! It means I'm not with them but they can call or text for medical advice if they have any problems... and they do.

I ended up doing it before I was asked... the girls just decided I was their personal medic for the trip :-)

Don't worry, English isn't my first language either... I'm Scottish.

Xf said...


This is always a tricky subject to deal with but the bottom line is nobody can be sued if they do something to save a life, especially when they are trained to do so.

Paramedics only need to have their own insurance if they opt to do private medical work.

In the public domain, registered medical professionals should always offer their services to people in dire need. It's an act of humanity and unless something is done that can clearly be called negligent, that is, an act or omission leading to further harm, then there is no substantive legal platform for claims against such an individual.

I will always stop to render aid, and will do whatever I can to save a life, even if that means using my advanced skills. Every paramedic is a registered practitioner. They do not require the permission of their employer to carry out their professional duties; they are only bound by the contractual policies of the employer when they are on duty with them, and even then operate under guidelines, rather than rules.

It is the choice of your friend not to help others when off-duty, but he is misguided if he believes it's because he 'isn't covered'. That would only be a problem if he stopped whilst still in uniform, and even then he could call the job in and get himself assigned to it officially. What ambulance service is going to say no when someone may die as a result?

Ask him to consider this. When a member of the public calls in about a cardiac arrest, do we not tell them, without having any prior training, to begin CPR? How then can we do this if there is a possibility of them not being covered?

I've been told that in some parts of America, if you are a paramedic, or nurse or doctor, and you are seen to drive past an accident where you may have been of assistance, you can be sued. This is because the act of ignoring the needs of injured or dying people is a negligent one.

Helping people is never a negligent act, unless you do something you are not trained to do.

JPJess said...

I don't know in which country your friend lives, but here in Australia, we have a Good Samaritan law, which I'm told is fairly common throughout the world. Essentially, it ensures that a person who, in good faith, steps in and attempts to provide first aid or other assistance, can not be sued or otherwise punished. The two exceptions to this is if the rescuer declares themselves to be a particular professional (e.g. a nurse), but is not in fact trained as one (nurse is a protected title in Australia - unfortunately, paramedic has not yet attained this status). If the rescuer is genuinely a trained professional, and steps in to help, having declared themselves to be such, then they are also only in danger if they do something stupid and completely against the rules of their profession, such as overstepping their scope of practice. In this situation, the health professional would be unlikely to be covered by any professional indemnity insurance, even if they were operating under the umbrella of their employer.

me said...

I made 3500 km in 20 days and I have no problems with my knees

Xf said...

You are a very clever girl and I'll see you when you return!

Anonymous said...

Great blog!
On the topic of litigation fears - I should correct another popular misconception. There is no law mandating malpractice insurance for private practice either. Some may argue it is foolhardy to work as an independent professional without malpractice cover but I don't agree. There is a school of thought, even amongst physicians in the USA, that holding such cover positively invites litigation. Of course, some employers such as hospitals insist that individuals carry their own insurance as a condition of contract, and some professional bodies may also require it. But whatever your health profession, it is not required in UK law (unless the CQC have added it to their remit - insurance is not a 'clinical' issue). Guess it depends what assets you wish to protect - I live a rather frugal life so go ahead and sue me - it will cost you more than you could possibly gain. I provided medical services at thousands of events over the last 20 years and was never once asked if I had malpractice insurance. Like many, I fell for the scaremongering initially and wasted money on million pound 'indemnities' until I got wise. Sadly, I see many indpendent practitioners proudly advertising they have cover - which I'm not sure gives the right impression! As for stopping to offer aid off-duty - I agree with previous posters - it may be construed as morally negligent to not stop unless there is a legit safety concern. To be fair, not everyone is sufficiently confident in all situations to get involved outside their employer's comfort umbrella and it should be a personal decision. Remember tho', it isn't just USA where you run the risk of someone seeing you drive/walk past - and reporting you to your professional body. Insurance concerns are a misplaced red herring - akin to the elf 'n safety hysteria of the 80's. Keep up the good work! Mav