Is it legal to send a patient facing a life threatening condition to the hospital with a non-medically trained person?
Question Details: A Mennonite lady had a week old baby that was having difficulty breathing. A doctor came to the home and said the baby needed to go to the ER immediately. The doctor admitted but because it was Christmas, he didn't call an ambulance because of people celebrating. Instead, a person who is not medically trained was called to drive them to the hospital, which is over 45 mintues away. They instructed the driver that, "If the baby gets any more bluer or is showing more signs of difficulty, do CPR". The outcome was open heart surgery for the infant. Did the doctor have the right to do this and not make 100% certain that baby was immediately taken care of by medically trained people?
It depends on whether the baby needed care at that moment that could have been provided outside the hospital. If so, then the doctor's failure to do so may well have been malpractice. But if there was nothing that realistically could have been done outside of a hospital setting, then having the child driven to the hospital was in fact reasonable medical care and there was no malpractice. Therefore, the answer to the question is "it depends"--that is, it depends on whether the presence of a medical trained person was necessary or would make any difference under these circumstances.