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EMS Education Tips

Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Removing Patient Clothing in the Field

By Greg Friese

Category: Operations

We rarely find patients in a hospital gown. They are in work uniforms, casual clothes, motorcycle leathers, sports specific clothing, and everything in between. If the patient is critical — has ABC life threats or needs a rapid trauma exam — use your trauma shears to remove the patient’s clothing.

Fortunately, most patients do not need to be cut out of their clothing, but might still require undressing for assessments or interventions, like ECG monitoring, 12-lead acquisition or intravenous access. Take a minute to pull the patient’s arm(s) out of tight shirts or jacket sleeves. The receiving hospital RN will really appreciate your extra effort before starting an IV.

If you receive linens from your receiving hospital, stash a couple of gowns in a cabinet and stow a single gown in a cardiac monitor pocket. After placing the 12-lead patches on a chest pain patient, slip their arms into a hospital gown.

Disrobing a STEMI patient before hospital arrival, if patient condition and time allow, could save precious seconds or minutes toward the goal of percutaneous coronary intervention within 90 minutes of hospital arrival.

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at
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