Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Law and Medicine Rounds

By Dainius A. Drukteinis, M.D., J.D.

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
- John Powell

Search and Seizure in the Emergency Department
The Case of the Double Crack

Imagine working in the Emergency Department and a patient with handcuffs is escorted by police officers into one of the bays. The officers state that during a strip search, they witnessed the patient remove rocks of crack cocaine hidden in the patient’s rectum, place the crack rocks in his mouth, and then swallow them. The officers tell you that they would like the patient’s stomach pumped. The patient states that under no circumstances does he want his stomach pumped. The officers insist you comply or they will arrest you for obstruction of justice.

How would you proceed?

Come back tomorrow to find out more...

Dainius A. Drukteinis, M.D., J.D. is a fourth year Emergency Medicine Resident at NYU/Bellevue Hospital. He may be contacted at ddrukteinis@gmail.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've had a similar situation occur where a patient was detained after seriously injuring a pedestrian. The patient obviously had alcohol on his breath and police officers wanted a blood alcohol level for their case. Conveniently, they have already devised a speedy warrant system to obtain a warrant in these cases. A judge issued a warrant to obtain the blood sample. They presented the court ordered warrant and we happily obliged, considering that we had just resuscitated his victim with bilateral above the knee amputations resulting from his intoxication.