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Paramedic gets fired after following patient's wishes

A paramedic alleges his employer terminated his position because he followed a patient’s request instead of adhering to conventional medical practices. The patient was suffering from a serious infection and asked the paramedic not to move forward with an intraosseous infusion (IO). The procedure, which essentially involves using a drill like device to insert an IV into the patient's bone, would be the conventional practice recommended in this instance. The patient declined treatment. Instead of pushing or forcing the issue, the paramedic honored the patient's wishes.

Supervisors disagreed with the paramedic’s decision. As a result, the paramedic has accused the employer of wrongful termination.

What happened? The woman died about a month after seeing the paramedic from complications connected to a long battle with cancer. The patient's husband provided a statement in support of the paramedic. The husband was present during the interaction and stated his wife agreed to an IV but was adamantly opposed to the recommended IO procedure. He states the paramedic provided the IV and went on to thank the medical professional for supporting his wife's decision.

Does the paramedic have legal recourse? If he can support his allegations, he could build a successful lawsuit against his former employer. If successful, he could face reinstatement to his position as well as compensation to cover lost wages.

The case provides an example of the interests’ medical professionals must balance. On the one side, the patient's wishes. On the other, current conventional medical practices. Paramedics, pharmacists, physicians and nurses can find themselves questioned by employers or licensing boards on how they manage this balance. An attorney experienced in these difficult health care law issues can represent your interests and better ensure a favorable outcome.

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