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Potential new bill could give EMTs more access to patients

Local News

Since 1970, the law has said paramedics cannot give drugs to patients without a doctor’s permission.
Fast forward to 2017 – and new legislation could soon change that.
Here’s how:

“Paramedics can give substances like Valium and morphine to patients without having to have direct contact with a physician,” said Reg Allen, Chief of Henrietta Ambulance. 

In turn, members of congress and EMS personnel believe this bill could save more lives, especially with a patient who is critically ill or having a seizure. Allen says, the longer a seizure takes place, more damage could be done to the patient.

“So the sooner you stop the seizure the less likely it is they are going to have an un-toured outcome,” he explained.

However, not everyone is on board with this new proposal. Adam Valentine has had seizures since he was a few months old. He says the medicine given to people having seizures does not have an immediate effect.

“They are a time release medicine, that’s what they are. So its not like oh he’s having a seizure here give him his medicine, he’ll stop having it, so it wouldn’t make it a difference for anything if they did,” said Valentine. 

Seizure medications are also given based on the person’s individual need – something Valentine says paramedics may not know if a doctor isn’t called.

“You can overdose on drugs. I mean its happened. I mean I’ve known people that they’ve been walking around like zombies because they were on too many meds,” he added. 

According to Allen, there are steps in place to check the medication, give the medication, and paramedics are required to give medical reports during and after the incident.

“The medication is safe when its not being used, safe when it is being used, and there’s a reporting mechanism if there’s any issues,” said Allen.

Now the bill itself passed unanimously in the House of Representatives with 404 votes. It has gone through the Senate Committee, and is waiting to be voted on there.

To read the legislation in full click the link below:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/304/text

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