What law on first aid says and why private ambulance more of Russian phenomenon

Who must provide first aid in case of accidents, who can refuse it, and what is more effective — private ambulance or state one

What law on first aid says and why private ambulance more of Russian phenomenon
Photo: Maksim Platonov

One can save a person in an unexpected situation (if he is ill, if he was injured, etc.) by giving him first aid. Is it possible to ignore the person and is it a crime? What if the aid turns out to be wrong and the patient gets worse? What other types of medical care are available in the country? Doctor, candidate of the State Duma from Tatarstan Boris Mendelevich explores this topic.

First aid: do not harm, but do not leave in danger

It is no secret that in many cases, timely and correctly provided first aid saves a person's life. WHO statistics show that 10% of deaths worldwide occur as a result of accidents. In many of these cases, a person could be saved by someone who knows how to provide first aid. But I am often approached by people with the question “Will I be punished if I try to help, and this will make the person worse?".

That's why I chose this topic for today's column. No matter how healthy each of us is, everyone may need first aid. Besides, I will explain what types of assistance are classified in general — at least in Russia. So, we must understand that there are:

  • first aid,
  • medical first aid,
  • emergency medical care,
  • emergency aid.

A person who does not have a medical education has the right to provide first aid for injuries and emergencies until the moment when doctors arrive. But to do this, they need to get the appropriate knowledge and skills (part 4 of Article 31 of Federal law No. 323-FZ as of 21.11.2011).

The rescuer must know in which conditions first aid is provided and what kind, and be able to perform the necessary measures (order of the ministry of healthcare and social development as of 04.05.2012 No. 477n, hereinafte r- Order No. 477n).

Photo: Maksim Platonov

The main thing to remember when rushing to help: any use of medicines and violation of the integrity of the skin (cutting, skin stitching, injections) is illegal. There are also other general rules: you can not move a person who fell from a height or got into an accident until the arrival of doctors: there is a risk that his spine is damaged. It is advisable not to touch the damaged parts of the human body (except in cases when you need to stop the blood spurting like a fountain).

Special rules are set for drivers involved in an accident: they must provide assistance without fail. For failure to comply with this duty, the driver faces administrative responsibility and punishment in the form of an administrative fine (part 1 of Article 12.27 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation).

In the event that a citizen knowingly left a victim who is in a helpless state without the possibility of receiving assistance, he may be brought to criminal responsibility (Article 125 'Leaving in danger' of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

If the rescuer is accused of wrong actions, it is recommended to focus on Article 39, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code 'Extreme necessity'.

Medical first aid

Medical first aid differs from 'simple' first aid in that it can only be provided by people who have special training. Such assistance is necessary for a person if an accident occurred, they were injured, poisoned, or received another condition that threatens their life and / or health.

Photo: Maksim Platonov

There is a list of persons who are obliged to provide first aid and do not have the right to pass by or refuse to respond to the request. This list is regulated by the federal law or special rules. Such people must have training and know how to provide medical first aid. These are not only doctors, but also employees of the ministry of internal affairs, military personnel, firefighters, rescuers, and people of some other professions.

If absolutely necessary, they have the right to medical intervention (for example, the use of medicines). Again, if a person is obliged to provide first aid by virtue of his profession, he has no right not to do so. There is a responsibility for this.

Emergency medical care: public vs private

Emergency medical care is provided to patients with conditions that require urgent medical intervention (accidents, injuries, poisoning, and other conditions and diseases). That's why stations (offices) of ambulance work around the clock, have no right to deny assistance under the СHI all work is carried out without additional financial cost to the patient.

At the same time, the segment of paid emergency medical care has started to develop quite actively in Russia.

It is important to understand that the activities of medical workers working in the framework of state emergency medical care are more carefully checked by various bodies, including insurance companies, for compliance with the volume and quality of services provided. If complications arise after calling a private ambulance, the patient usually has to prove the medical staff's mistake, including making a statement of claim, filing a lawsuit and proving that the error actually occurred.

Photo: Maksim Platonov

Private ambulance, in my opinion, is generally a phenomenon that is actively developing only in Russia. In many developed countries, emergency medical care is the subject of state funding, as it goes to various accidents, injuries, and poisoning. No one stands over the soul and does not require money from the victim — everything is written in the insurance. Why is this service popular in Russia?

I assume that there are two reasons for this. First, it would be strange to deny that a paid ambulance arrives faster on average than a regular one. The availability and popularity of paid ambulance services reflects the scarcity and unavailability of public services, and thus the issue is partially resolved through reallocation. And second, I know for sure that a private ambulance works well in the market for treating alcohol poisoning and binge drinking: patients resort to it to maintain anonymity.

In any case, I always support the need to improve the availability and quality of public medical care and make sure that no patient is left without timely treatment. But, in my opinion, “let all the flowers bloom”, and if paid medicine in some situations works better, faster and saves lives, then it would be better not to interfere with it.

By Boris Mendelevich