EMT 214 Legal Issues/Research

Campus Location:
Effective Date:
EMT 200


Course Credits and Hours:
3.00 credits
3.00 lecture hours/week
0.00 lab hours/week
Course Description:

This course covers the legal principles that govern healthcare, including documentation, the Patient Bill of Rights, liability, confidentiality, and specialized topics concerning emergency medical services. Protocols and laws specific to the State of Delaware will be emphasized. Also included is an overview of the collection and management of data associated with prehospital and preventive services.

Required Text(s):

Obtain current textbook information by viewing the campus bookstore online or visit a campus bookstore. Check your course schedule for the course number and section.

Additional Materials:


Schedule Type:
Classroom Course

All students must be able to access the Internet and know how to retrieve information from the Learning Management System on the DTCC web page.

Core Course Performance Objectives (CCPOs):
  1. Discuss the legal system pertinent to emergency medical services (EMS). (CCC 4, 5; PGC 6, 8)
  2. Explain legal issues related to providing patient care. (CCC 1, 4, 5; PGC 6, 8)
  3. Describe liability issues. (CCC 4, 5; PGC 6, 8)
  4. Identify the legal responsibilities involving medical direction. (CCC 4, 5; PGC 6, 8)
  5. Explain paramedic legal responsibilities. (CCC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; PGC 6, 8)
  6. Describe the research process. (CCC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; PGC 6, 8)
  7. Explain the role of research in quality management and clinical practice. (CCC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; PGC 6, 8)

See Core Curriculum Competencies and Program Graduate Competencies at the end of the syllabus. CCPOs are linked to every competency they develop.

Measurable Performance Objectives (MPOs):

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Discuss the legal system pertinent to emergency medical services (EMS).
    1. Describe the structure and function of the United States legal system, and differentiate between criminal and civil law.
    2. Describe the enabling legislation that established and shaped emergency medical services.
    3. Identify key roles of an emergency medical services system written in statute.
    4. Describe the components of a civil lawsuit and strategies to follow if involved in one.
  2. Explain legal issues related to providing patient care.
    1. Define the following terms:  abandonment, advanced directive, assault, battery, breach of duty, confidentiality, consent, do not resuscitate orders, duty to act, emancipated minor, false imprisonment, immunity, liability, libel, minor, negligence, proximate cause, scope of practice, slander, standard of care, and tort.
    2. List specific reportable conditions or problems encountered while providing care, and identify to whom the reports are to be made.
    3. Given a scenario with a patient in need of care, describe the process used to obtain informed or implied consent.
    4. Identify the legal issues involved in the decision not to transport a patient or reduce the level of care being provided.
    5. Describe the conditions under which use of force, including restraint, is acceptable.
    6. Discuss the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) laws as they apply to patient care and transport issues.
    7. Explain the importance and necessity of patient confidentiality and the standards for maintaining patient confidentiality that apply to the paramedic.
    8. Explain the purpose of advanced directives and how they impact patient care.
    9. Explain the concepts of duty to act and abandonment.
    10. Differentiate among the types of consent:  expressed, informed, implied, and involuntary.
    11. Differentiate between assault and battery and describe how to avoid committing each.
    12. Given a scenario, demonstrate appropriate patient interaction and documentation for a patient refusing care.
    13. Examine a scenario to evaluate paramedic practice with respect to maintaining standards of confidentiality.
  3. Describe liability issues.
    1. Describe the four elements that must be present in order to prove negligence.
    2. Describe patient care behaviors that would protect the paramedic from claims of negligence.
    3. Discuss immunity, including Good Samaritan statutes and governmental immunity, as it applies to the paramedic.
    4. Differentiate between libel and slander.
    5. Explain liability as it applies to emergency medical services, including physicians providing medical direction and paramedics’ supervision of other care providers.
    6. Examine a scenario for issues of liability and immunity.
    7. Examine a scenario to determine whether a paramedic providing care could be considered negligent.
  4. Identify the legal responsibilities involving medical direction.
    1. Discuss the legal implications of medical direction, including off-line medical direction and on-line medical direction, and its relationship to the paramedic’s standard of care.
  5. Explain paramedic legal responsibilities.
    1. Differentiate between the legal and ethical responsibilities of the paramedic.
    2. Explain how the scope of practice and standard of care are defined for the paramedic profession.
    3. Differentiate between licensure and certification as they apply to the paramedic.
    4. Describe the importance of providing accurate documentation (oral and written) in substantiating an emergency medical services response.
    5. Describe the characteristics of a patient care report required to make it an effective legal document.
    6. Discuss the paramedic’s responsibilities relative to resuscitation efforts for patients who are potential organ donors.
  6. Describe the research process.
    1. Discuss the need for EMS research as described in the National Highway Traffic
    2. Safety Administration (NHTSA) EMS Agenda for the Future.
    3. Describe the components of EMS that benefit from research and quality improvement.
    4. Define the following terms:  basic research, applied research, observational study, experimental study, retrospective study, prospective study, qualitative research, quantitative research, dependent variable, independent variable, confounding variable, population, generalization, bias, hypothesis, sampling, peer-reviewed journal, validity, and reliability.
    5. Describe the relationship among independent, dependent, and confounding variables.
    6. Describe the steps of the research process, including defining a research question, constructing a hypothesis, sampling, data collection, and analysis.
    7. Identify the steps of the research process in a peer-reviewed article.
    8. Discuss ethical concerns and research design strengths and weaknesses in EMS research, including the role of Institutional Review Boards and the significance of the Belmont Report.
  7. Explain the role of research in quality management and clinical practice.
    1. Describe current approaches to quality improvement in EMS.
    2. Describe the relationship between the quality management process and identification of a research problem.
    3. Describe the role of research in the development of paramedic clinical practice and
    4. EMS system operation.
    5. Conduct a literature search, identify a peer-reviewed journal, select and critically review a research article, and identify the components of a research article.
    6. Perform a literature review on an EMS-related topic.
    7. Critique an EMS research article selected from a peer-reviewed journal.
Evaluation Criteria/Policies:

The grade will be determined using the Delaware Tech grading system:

90 100 = A
80 89 = B
70 79 = C
0 69 = F

Students should refer to the Student Handbook for information on the Academic Standing Policy, the Academic Integrity Policy, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and other policies relevant to their academic progress.

Core Curriculum Competencies (CCCs are the competencies every graduate will develop):
  1. Apply clear and effective communication skills.
  2. Use critical thinking to solve problems.
  3. Collaborate to achieve a common goal.
  4. Demonstrate professional and ethical conduct.
  5. Use information literacy for effective vocational and/or academic research.
  6. Apply quantitative reasoning and/or scientific inquiry to solve practical problems.
Program Graduate Competencies (PGCs are the competencies every graduate will develop specific to his or her major):
  1. Perform all psychomotor, paramedic skills in the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards consistent with acceptable practice for an entry-level paramedic.
  2. Conduct complete, accurate and timely patient assessments, to include history and physical exam and communicate findings.
  3. Interpret assessment findings in order to accurately identify a differential diagnosis and integrate pathophysiologic principles and legal responsibilities to formulate a treatment plan.
  4. Effectively perform the role of Team Leader to include: timely decision making, effective resource utilization, implementing appropriate plan of action for a given situation, adapting the plan to changing conditions and communicate.
  5. Assess a scene or situation in order to identify threats to operating safely.
  6. Apply communication and ethical decision-making skills required for an entry-level paramedic.
  7. Exhibit professional, affective behavior.
  8. Function effectively as an entry-level paramedic in the pre-hospital working environment in the roles of Team Leader and Team Member.
Disabilities Support Statement:

The College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the campus Disabilities Support Counselor to request an accommodation needed due to a disability. A listing of campus Disabilities Support Counselors and contact information can be found at the disabilities services web page or visit the campus Advising Center.

Minimum Technology Requirements:
Minimum technology requirements for online, hybrid, video conferencing and web conferencing courses.