Mandatory gunshot wound reporting
I just started working in the emergency room of a rural hospital. My manager informed me of legislation that requires hospitals to inform police when a client suffering from a gunshot wound comes into the ER. I have serious ethical concerns that this will prevent clients from seeking care as they will be afraid of being reported to police. What can I do to ensure that this legislation doesn’t affect my ability to care for clients?
The Mandatory Gunshot Wounds Reporting Act, 2005 requires hospitals and other prescribed health care facilities to report to police, as soon as is practical, the following information about an individual with a gunshot wound:
- the name of the client, if known; and
- the location of the reporting facility.
The legislation does not indicate who is responsible for reporting the information. Refer to your facility’s and/or unit policy for who on the team is responsible for reporting the information. You may want to refer to your facility’s policies for other mandatory reporting obligations, such as those for suspected child abuse, to determine how nurses have met reporting obligations while maintaining therapeutic relationships with their clients.