The "Cruciform"® system for documenting victims has been available for over 25 years, and has been continuously revised and updated. It is acknowledged to be the most comprehensive and flexible system available, particularly for the larger incident. Unfortunately, apart from the strictly medical aspects, there are some additional factors that also need to be considered.
Naturally, rescuers do their best for victims, 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 help and kindness will have faded and the organisation the rescuer represented or who employed the rescuer on the day, may then be faced with a claim for damages.
To enable such a claim 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 injuries were 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 person and where they were sent. Last, but by no means least, it is vital that any record made is on a permanent medium and that it is filed away securely as a definitive record.
The Cruciform® Emergency Documentation System is designed as a permanent record. It is kept in the hospital with the patient's notes and will be filed away in secure storage.
The overlay sheet, appropriately numbered, can be kept by the employing organisation, as a record of all relevant administrative information and will, for example, also include the names of all persons who might have been involved with the victim in the field. The unique number will enable any legal team to access the full Cruciform® card from the hospital records, should that be required at any future stage. If the police keep the overlay sheet, even the numbered tag on paramedic or ambulance service records will be a unique reference to the Cruciform® held in hospital medical records stores.
Readers will be aware that in any court case, original records may be required to be produced to substantiate the facts of injuries found, treatment given and persons involved. Records kept on erasable cards will prove inadmissible, as the accuracy of the information cannot be substantiated. If a record is made on an erasable medium, the legal team may not be able to defend the rescuers' actions adequately. If the case should be lost due to inadequate record keeping, the cost could be substantial.
Could litigation affect the rescuer and/or the employing organisation? Yes, most definitely. Rescuers should be prepared for any future litigant. Use Cruciform® as the most comprehensive, medically validated and permanent record of what was done with that victim on the day so safeguard all concerned by using the finest available emergency documentation system.