More first responder training tonight. We finally got our books! That will be awesome -- I have been taking copious notes, and when questions come up, Mike has provided good and clear answers, but I'm certain I've been missing some stuff. Tonight's class was all about vital signs, recognizing different classes of shock, and how to treat different classes of wounds.
But here's the snag: we can't administer an Epi-Pen
First responders are trained to provide a very specific level of emergency aid. We can dress wounds, splint fractures, administer CPR, that sort of thing. We cannot
go beyond our scope of training. That makes sense -- they don't want a bunch of kids who have gotten 30 hours of classroom instruction to go swaggering out in the world thinking they can perform emergency tracheotomies.
Among the things first responders are not allowed to do is administer medication. Which includes the Epi-Pen.
Now, our neighbors include one young boy with a very severe peanut allergy. We all got instruction from them on how to use the Epi-Pen, in case he were to go into shock when his parents aren't around. My spouse
has an allergy to bee stings severe enough to keep an Epi-Pen in her purse.
As a regular joe, I would be covered under the Good Samaritan law
if I were to administer the Epi-Pen to someone in good faith. But for trained first responders, the Good Samaritan law only covers you as long as you stay within your scope of training.
My reading of this is that, until I get my first responder certification, I can legally use the Epi-Pen on someone who's going into shock. After that, doing so could expose me to liability if anything were to go wrong.
It all reminds me of Michael Pollan's discovery of the bizarre legal rabbit-hole around the poppy: that if you wish to grow opium poppies, you can do so provided you do not know what they are
-- that once you realize that fact, you can be held liable for drug trafficking. It's kinda loopy. But there we are.