Attorneys Advocating For Illinois Healthcare Practitioners And Providers

How Medical Offices Can Prepare for a Possible Emergency

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2023 | Healthcare Law

Anywhere that people congregate, there is the possibility of some kind of medical emergency arising. People could have a heart attack at an amusement park or experience an allergic reaction due to contamination of their meal at a restaurant. Similarly, any medical office that sees patients could potentially have some kind of emergency arise during office hours. The likelihood of an emergency will depend on the volume of patients and the specific type of medical care provided at the facility.

For example, those that provide support to geriatric patients may have to worry more about strokes and cardiac events than pediatricians, but pediatric offices could very well see children injured in their waiting rooms due to their frenetic behavior. How can medical offices prepare for the possibility of an emergency?

Crafting a plan to handle an emergency

Creating a plan ahead of time so that employees know how to handle a medical emergency is very important. Properly training staff members on how to identify and respond to medical emergencies can make all the difference. Most standalone medical offices do not have the equipment and facilities to provide emergency care the way that hospitals can, so the response protocol will typically include dialing 911 for emergency help. Beyond that, staff members will likely need to provide stabilization care, which will probably require special equipment.

What investments make sense for medical offices?

The first step for preparing to provide emergency stabilization care involves inventorying what medical equipment is available at the office and ensuring staff members have the training to use it. It is also important that everyone in the office know where to locate different pieces of equipment.

Having an automated external defibrillator (AED) is common practice at many medical facilities, but not all of them require such machinery. Offices may also require EpiPens to help those experiencing allergic reactions. Narcan or naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose and even chewable aspirin could make a major impact on a patient experiencing a medical emergency, so having such drugs on hand may be a smart decision depending on the nature of the medical office.

Being clear about which staff members have training for different forms of emergency care support and ensuring that there are always workers on hand who can use the AED or administer Narcan could potentially save a patient’s life during an emergency. When facilities are proactive about ensuring they have the resources to stabilize their patients, they will reduce their likelihood of having any kind of civil liability for a poor outcome under Illinois state law.

Inevitably, those witnessing and responding to an emergency medical event will endure high levels of stress, but the right equipment and training can make all the difference in how they ultimately manage the situation. Being proactive about putting together a plan for medical emergencies at a healthcare facility may benefit the entire organization as well as the employees who may eventually witness some kind of urgent medical event.