EMS agencies and personnel throughout Kentucky often have questions about KRS 311A and its regulations, 202 KAR 7 et al. Some of the questions arise many times. Because these are general, need-to-know issues, Legal Services has set up this section of the website for your questions. The question could be added to this FAQ section to help other certified or licensed agencies and personnel conduct their businesses and carry out their duties as EMS providers in Kentucky.
Can a paramedic draw blood for purposes of a police investigation?
KRS 311A.170(3) allows a paramedic to draw blood samples, but the following must apply:
- The person from whom the blood is to be drawn must be a criminal defendant. This means the person must already have charges pending or be under arrest. It is not enough for the person to be suspected of a crime.
- A peace officer must request that the blood be drawn from the criminal defendant.
- If the peace officer requests, the next requirement is consent of the defendant. With consent and the request, the paramedic may draw.
- If the criminal defendant does not consent, the paramedic may draw if a court order has been issued to require the procedure.
- In either of the scenarios, consent or no consent, a paramedic may only draw the blood if his employer has authorized it AND if the authorization is in writing (can be a written general policy of the employer and the medical director).
If the paramedic draws the blood, the paramedic has a duty to deliver the sample to the requesting peace office or to the authorized court representative. The paramedic is also required by KRS 311A.170(3) to testify in court when a subpoena is served.
Can first responders, EMTs, or Paramedics be punished if they fail to carry out an order they believe falls outside their scope of practice?
Under KRS 311A.175(1) (3), all EMS personnel have a duty to perform procedures that fall only within their scope of practice. All EMS personnel are tasked with knowing what that scope of practice is. (KRS 311A.175(4)) If someone an employer, a medical director, a physician, nurse, or anyone asks a licensed or certified EMS professional to perform a procedure that is outside the scope of practice for the professional's level of certification, the EMS professional has a legal duty to refuse to exceed his scope of practice. (KRS 311A.175(5)) And, when the EMS professional uses that legal duty to refuse, the employer cannot discipline or discharge the first responder, EMT, or paramedic. Disciplining or discharging an individual for refusing an illegal order could create legal liability on the employer s part for wrongful termination of an employee.