Thursday, March 30, 2006

Cops and Robbers

When do you give information to the cops, how much do you give, and are you exposed? I am asked this question at nearly every training I give. Here in the state of Washington, the Hospital Association has published a 30+ page guide for front line and emergency room providers. Your state probably has an organization who has at least explored this. On a national level, the National Center for Policy Analysis has this to say:

Daily in emergency departments and inpatient trauma services, and sporadically in other departments, police officers request permission to interview patients who may have experienced, witnessed or perpetrated crimes ranging from motor vehicle crashes to homicides, says the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Decision making by both clinicians and police is unstructured, ad hoc and potentially susceptible to adverse outcomes that might be preventable with appropriate guidance, says JAMA.

The cops, who are after all only trying to do their jobs, will always assert that it is okay for you to tell them anything they want. It is important to remember that their goals and exposure are not the same as yours.

No comments: