This is unbelievable.
Then again, maybe not.
Via naplesnews.com (highlights are mine):
Jeff Lytle: It’s an emergency — but you can’t tell anyone?
Sunday, November 6, 2011
This is a column that could write itself.
Yet there are so many different ways it could start.
I could say “If you are looking for a law that fights rather then furthers the public interest, this is it.”
Or “Suppose you’re having lunch at a restaurant and you have a heart attack.”
Or “Thank goodness public servants in medicine and politics are trying to right a wrong.”
Here’s the deal.
Former NCH Healthcare System CEO Ed Morton brought up something that I could not comprehend at an emergency health care forum the other day. He said Florida privacy laws are so convoluted that they can block a cardiac patient’s access to a potentially lifesaving automatic external defibrillator (AED) nearby.
Surely I misunderstood his comment about 911 dispatchers not being allowed to alert third parties such as an office or dining room with AEDs to an emergency in their midst.
Morton pointed me toward Florida Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, who confirmed what he said and walked me through a legal thicket that has vexed lawmakers for five or six years.
It goes like this: 911 operators can tell callers — usually not heart patients themselves — whether they can find an AED nearby, but the 911 operators are not allowed to call people and places with AEDs for fear of disclosing your medical information to a stranger.
And, chances are the person making the 911 call about you would prefer to stay by your side rather than race off to grab the AED with the electrified chest paddles.
So, heart patients are left to wait for the ambulance to arrive. It’s OK for those people to know about your health because they, like law enforcement agencies, are official first-responders.
Passidomo says she learned of the problem from Kate Kerwin, fitness director at Quail Creek Country Club, who said “This is very disturbing.”
“We purchased six AED units over 10 years ago to respond to an emergency. If the emergency occurs in one of our buildings we are able to respond quickly because the staff has initiated the call to 911. If, however, the emergency happens on one of our golf courses, the member of the golf foursome has probably called into 911. The staff may not even be aware that an emergency exists. The response time of EMS is quick, but getting them out onto the golf course takes time and that is where the staff can get there faster — taking the AED to the victim with a golf cart.
“We are talking safety issues which don’t only relate to Collier County but to the entire state.
“What can you do help make this right?”
Mr. Emergency Medicine in the county, Dr. Robert Tober, says it’s all too true.
“As a result, for example, an emergency medical department cannot call the front guard office at a condominium and notify them of a cardiac arrest on the fifth floor,” he says, even if the condo has voluntarily registered with a statewide AED informational network.
You will find the rest of the article here.
I guess the lesson to be learned here is, if you have a heart condition, you might just want to stay off golf courses in Florida.
Like I said – unbelievable.