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LO082: EMS response to police use of force events: periods of personal and professional risk in prehospital care

  • C.A. Hall (a1), K. Votova (a1), G. Randhawa (a1), D. Andrusiek (a1), A. Carter (a1), S. MacDonald (a1) and D. Eramian (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: This study provides an estimate of the number of EMS calls related to police use of force events that involve struggling, intoxicated and/or emotionally distressed patients. We hypothesized there would be under-reporting of EMS risk by paramedic agencies due to lack of standardized reporting of police events by EMS services and lack of a common linked case number between prehospital agencies in Canada. Methods: Data were collected during a multi-site, prospective, consecutive cohort study of police use of force in 4 Canadian cities using standardized data forms. Use of force was defined a priori and the application of handcuffs was not considered a force modality. Inclusion criteria: all subjects ≥ 18 years of age involved in a use of force police-public encounter. We defined risk to EMS as the presence of police- and/or paramedic- assessments of violent or struggling subjects on the scene. Three separate data forms (police-report of use of force, EMS encounter, and Emergency Department (ED) visit) were linked in the study by unique ID. When police-reported EMS was activated, investigators hand searched the EMS service reports at the relevant agencies for matching call sheets. Results: From Jan 2010 to Dec 2012, we studied 3310 consecutive public-police interactions involving use of force above simple joint lock application. Subjects were male (86%) with a mean age of 33 yrs; 85% were assessed by police as emotionally disturbed, intoxicated with drugs and/or alcohol or a combination of those. 45% were violent at the scene. Police-reported EMS attendance in 24% (809/3310) of use of force events, of which only 43% (349/809) of EMS run sheets were available. In events with violent subjects, EMS transported 51% to ED compared to 35% by police transport (chi=79.7, p=0.00). Conclusion: We identified periods of professional and physical risk to paramedics attending police use of force events and found that risk significantly underrepresented in EMS data. Paramedical training would benefit from policy and procedures for response to police calls and the violent patient, the majority of whom are struggling. A common linked case number in prehospital care would enable more specific quantification of the risk for EMS providers involved in police events.

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LO082: EMS response to police use of force events: periods of personal and professional risk in prehospital care

  • C.A. Hall (a1), K. Votova (a1), G. Randhawa (a1), D. Andrusiek (a1), A. Carter (a1), S. MacDonald (a1) and D. Eramian (a1)...

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