Saskatchewan

Privacy breach found after CPR instructor takes class to cardiac arrest call in rural Sask.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner is recommending more privacy training for Saskatchewan Health Authority volunteers after a CPR instructor and volunteer medical first responder took her class to a call at a private home.

SHA volunteer took class to scene where patient was declared dead

An investigation was launched after a medical first responder with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and CPR instructor took her class to a cardiac arrest call at a private home. (B Calkins/Shutterstock)

The Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) is recommending more privacy training for Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) volunteers after a CPR instructor and volunteer medical first responder took her class to a call at a private home.

An investigation report by the IPC shows paramedics were called to a rural residence in southern Saskatchewan on March 18, 2018, for someone who went into cardiac arrest.

The instructor in question, who the report doesn't name, is a volunteer with the SHA as a medical first responder and was registered as a non-practising emergency medical responder with the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics (SCoP).

She was teaching a CPR re-certification class to three adult students — none of whom were employed by the SHA — when SHA sent the call to its emergency responders, including the instructor. 

Patient declared dead on scene

A report by SCoP says the instructor's "immediate reaction was to take the students with her so they could experience the call and perhaps undertake CPR. She grabbed the [automated external defibrillator] and they left immediately."

She and her students arrived at the home before other paramedics, according to the IPC's report.

The instructor and a student moved the patient from the bed to the floor, but it was then determined resuscitation wasn't possible. Two other paramedics arrived shortly after and pronounced the patient dead at the scene.

According to the report, the instructor told one of the paramedics "she was teaching a first aid/CPR class when she got the call and thought there was no better opportunity for her three students than to attend the call and learn."

The professional conduct committee at SCoP then received a complaint about the incident and an investigation ensued.

Enough evidence to suggest professional misconduct

The committee found there was sufficient evidence to believe professional misconduct occurred, and the IPC concluded there was a privacy breach.

SHA has responded to the privacy breach appropriately, according to the investigation report, but IPC is recommending SHA requires volunteers to take the same mandatory privacy course as employees take.

The IPC is also recommending SHA contact the students involved to ensure they don't disclose any personal health information they may have came across during the incident.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated the paramedics were called to a location in Regina. In fact, the emergency call was for a location in southern Saskatchewan.
    Sep 17, 2019 1:58 PM CT

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