Coroner’s Courts and Civil Claims
The Firstaidform© system for documenting casualties has just been made available to first responders or others giving first aid at incidents. It is a comprehensive and flexible system. It should be a great help to anyone assisting an injured or ill person as a check list of aspects to be checked and a method of documenting all things found and done for that casualty.
Unfortunately, apart from the strictly medical aspects, there are some additional factors that also need to be considered.
Naturally, first responders do their best for casualties, using the most modern techniques and procedures. They also keep their training up to date and use equipment properly. Unfortunately, after the event, perhaps even years later, memories of their expert and sympathetic help and kindness will have faded and the organisation the first responder represents or who employed the first responder on the day, may be faced with a coroner’s court or civil claim for damages.
For such a problem to be properly dealt with it is crucial to keep written records. Records must be made, at the time of an incident, clearly identifying what happened, where, what injury or illness was found and what treatment was given or advice offered.
It is also essential to identify who was involved in any treatment, relevant times, location of injured/ill person and where they were sent. Last, but by no means least, it is vital that any record made is permanent and that it is filed away securely as a definitive record.
The Firstaidform© is designed as a permanent record. The top copy is kept in the hospital with the patient’s notes and will be filed away in secure storage. The ambulance service, if involved, will be able to keep a copy, plus the employer and the first responder a copy each.
The unique number will enable any coroner’s officer or legal team to access the original Firstaidform© from the hospital records, should that be required at any future stage and link it with those same records kept by the others involved.
In any court case, original records will be required to be produced to substantiate the facts of injuries/illness found, treatment given and persons involved. Records kept only in a first aid book may be found inadequate to properly defend a case. The cost of a lost case could be substantial. In a coroner’s court, the organisation may be faced with serious criticism if, by inadequate record keeping, the court is unable to determine the exact identity of the victim, continuity of care and/or cause of death.
Organisations/First Responders should be prepared for any future coroner’s court or litigant, by using Firstaidform© as the most comprehensive, medically validated and permanent record of what was found and done with that casualty on the day.