Intoxication calls: How cops can aid our responses
Several urban centers such as San Francisco have established sobering centers
By Art Hsieh
Managing an intoxicated patient on a Saturday night is not my idea of fun — it's work.
While it can be mildly amusing at times, it's more frustrating than anything else — especially when the reason for the EMS call is directly correlated to the level of ethanol present in the patient's bloodstream.
Moreover, while the injury or illness is not significant or even exist, the inability for the inebriated patient to be able to legally refuse medical care or transport results in an expensive cab ride to the hospital and an EMS unit being taken out of service.
In the United States, several urban centers such as San Francisco have established sobering centers as a way to divert qualified patients away from both jail cells and hospital beds.
This story out of England shows potentially another way to manage this group of patients. By teaming law enforcement and EMS to specifically target these patients, it has the potential to free up both types of resources when call volume is heavy.
In addition, law enforcement is trained and equipped to identify the individual who is legally intoxicated, while the EMS provider can provide the comprehensive assessment necessary to rule out potential medical conditions.
It's a good fit.