|Posted:||November 23, 2015 11:10 AM|
|From:||Representative Frank A. Farry and Rep. Gene DiGirolamo|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Authorizing Blood Draws by Paramedics in DUI Cases|
|In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to be known as the Officer Brian Gregg Act, which will authorize paramedics to conduct blood draws at the police station on behalf of municipal police departments for alleged driving under the influence (DUI) cases.
Under Act 37 or 2009, known as the Emergency Medical Services Act, paramedics are only authorized to exercise their skills under emergency 911 situations or when conducting a routine ambulance transport under their “scope of practice.” Although a paramedic is trained and authorized to administer needles and medication, the current provisions of both the act and regulations promulgated pursuant to the act do not allow for a paramedic to exercise their training in the drawing of blood for a possible DUI.
Currently, when police officers arrest an individual for suspicion of driving under the influence, the officer will take the suspect to the hospital to have the suspect’s blood drawn to conduct a blood alcohol content test. Too many times the officers have to wait, sometimes as much as an hour or more before the blood is drawn. Therefore, they are unable to obtain the level of alcohol in the suspect’s blood as close to the time of the arrest as possible, resulting in valuable time lost for adequate testing. In some cases, this practice can prove tragic.
Officer Brian Gregg was shot and killed in a hospital in my district after a prisoner was able to gain possession of his partner’s service weapon while in an emergency room undergoing blood and urine tests after being arrested for drunk driving. In addition to Officer Gregg’s murder, his partner was shot as well as a hospital employee. This tragedy would have been worse but for the fact that the murderer ran out of bullets.
Our legislation will authorize paramedics to use their scope of practice when the local emergency medical services agency enters into an agreement with the police department to conduct blood draws if and when a paramedic is available. To be clear, the paramedic will remain available to respond to all emergency calls during the blood draw. If a paramedic is unavailable to draw the blood, the police will have to use the hospital. This option will go a long way in alleviating a lot of the wait time for obtaining crucial blood testing for driving under the influence cases, and it will reduce the number of times that offenders are in the public emergency room.
We hope you will join with us in cosponsoring this important legislation.
Introduced as HB2058